Walk In for Urgent Care, Walk Out with a PCP

Nov. 06, 2018

Simple steps to encourage patient conversion

As marketers, it can often feel like our work is like sending a message in a bottle. We work hard to create the right messaging for the correct audience, using the most strategic tactics and proven media. And then we send our message out into the world and hold our breath.

Much of marketing is a waiting game: we track response rate to direct mail as it drops; we analyze ad clicks and page views over the course of weeks; we create outdoor boards that are up for months on end and gauge community reaction bit by bit.

In other words: Healthcare marketing works, but often it works more like the Colorado River than a category 5 hurricane.  

And this is true, except when your patients are already there. When you literally have the patients in your waiting rooms, there’s no easier thing than converting them to other service lines, right? For example, walk-in patients should seamlessly transition to primary care patients, right? Right. But it’s easier said than done. We see the same dynamic at work for client after client. Yes they have urgent care; no they don’t like to advertise it. Primary care providers resent it when their patients chose a walk-in clinic over making an appointment with them. Politics is at play and the struggle is real.

But there are just-as-real ways to overcome this problem. When patients come in for walk-in care and leave with a primary care appointment, everyone wins (not least of which is the patient, who is now on a path to better long-term health).

We’ve developed successful patient conversion plans for countless facilities and here are a few lessons we learned along the way:

Talk is just talk Yes, it’s important when walk-in providers tell patients to follow-up with primary care providers, but there’s a big difference between talking to a patient and scheduling a patient. Have a script for walk-in clinic staff to follow that encourages patients to establish with a primary care provider. Make it quick and easy to do so then and there.

Meet the providers Rack cards are a great way for potential patients to get a quick sense of the providers that might be right for them. Encourage walk-in providers to distribute these to patients. Also, consider having kiosks at points of entry so that patients can check in electronically as well as view provider videos of primary care practitioners.

Have primary care providers on staff at walk-in Likely conversions should be scheduled with a walk-in provider who is also on the primary care team. This makes the transition seamless.

Make it easy No one likes paperwork. No one likes sitting filling out forms on a clipboard. Capture data early and efficiently so that potential patients aren’t discouraged by the perception of more “work” to establish with a primary care provider. Make it easy for them to “opt-in” to receiving follow up information.

Follow-Up Make sure you follow up with patients by phone to see how they are doing. Use this opportunity to once again encourage scheduling with a PCP. Make this easy and seamless as well.

Primary care is essential for your facility, but even more important: primary care is essential for your community’s health. Help convert walk-ins to primary care patients with these strategies.

For more ideas, contact Mike at mikem@golegato.com.

Website by: Craig Erskine