Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care shifts patient volume to less busy clinics via online check-in

Patient volume was shifted to an underutilized urgent care campus with better capacity to handle extra volume.
CUSTOMER PROFILE
Hospital-affiliated urgent cares - 6 locations
LOCATION
Sarasota, FL
CUSTOMER SINCE
2018
PRODUCTS USED
GOALS
Shift patient volume from busier campus to less busy campus at less busy times in order to reduce wait times. Also, help drive the overall growth strategy.
OBSTACLES
Imbalances in patient visit patterns resulted in some locations facing capacity issues while others had too much capacity.
RESULTS
Less busy clinics received the most online patient bookings while the busier locations received fewer online check-ins.

Challenge

The practice leaders at Sarasota Memorial’s six urgent care clinics wanted to drive market share but also needed to drive patients to the clinics that had the most capacity to treat that incremental volume. They had already successfully executed a comprehensive strategy to increase volume AND improve the patient experience through various process improvements and by adding new clinics. Unfortunately, they still faced an imbalance in patient visits. Two of the urgent care clinics received 44% of all visits, while the most recently opened clinic had the lowest volume. In addition, patient arrival times across the board tended to cluster around the opening hour, lunch time, and right after work.  As a result of these bottlenecks, patients tended to face longer wait times.

Solution

As part of their “smart growth” marketing plan, SMH Urgent Cares turned to the Check-in Express tool from ER Express to not only help with patient acquisition, but also smooth out the peaks and valleys in arrivals at their busiest facilities.

Increased visibility. Smart scheduling.

The SMH marketing team alongside the ER Express marketing team, promoted the convenience of the new check-in service via a targeted Google Ads campaign, a commercial, and multiple print materials for the waiting rooms. Branding the online check-in program Save My Spot, the Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care website landing page allowed patients to ‘comparison shop’ among the six locations by showing the first available treatment times for each clinic. Staff adjusted the inventory of time slots so the newer, less busy urgent care clinic had more check-in time slots available while the more popular, older urgent cares had fewer time slots offered only at typically less busy times of the day.

Results

Since staff could now control the availability of time slots, the check-in system helped them to steer patients to choose time slots during less busy times of the day at the less busy campus, breaking up the usual bottlenecks and longer waits.

As expected, the newly opened, least busy location had the highest level of online check-in utilization, measured by the number of online bookings as a percentage of that location's total patient visits. Meanwhile, the two busiest locations had the lowest levels of online check-in utilization. Illustrated in the bar chart above, location #6 was the least busy clinic and ended up receiving 9% of the online bookings, whereas location #1, the most busy clinic, received only 4% of the reservations.

In addition, patients raved about the convenience of the online check-in service, signaling that the patient experience had been improved because of the addition of this service.

"ER Express definitely played a role in our success this past year...[When we looked at] ER Express utilization percentages by site...our slowest site had the highest utilization (9%) which is great!"
Jen Storch | Director, Ambulatory Services
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