Tag: urgent care

Redefining Benchmarks and Expectations In Urgent Care: A Data-Driven Approach

Dr. Benjamin Barlow

By Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer, Experity.

As we evaluate the healthcare landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the urgent care (UC) industry, facilities have undergone significant transformation. Patient behaviors and economic factors have converged to reshape the way people perceive healthcare.

For urgent care, access to the use of reliable, accurate data is critical to inform intelligent decision-making and clinic success throughout dynamic market conditions and changing consumer preferences.

Part of this adaption centers around redefining expectations and benchmarks to measure success by leveraging data-driven insights to ensure that UC clinics continue meeting the evolving needs of their patient population.

Changing Patient Behaviors 

In 2019, urgent care clinics were a familiar and reliable part of the healthcare ecosystem. Patients sought their services for minor injuries, illnesses, and a range of non-life-threatening conditions. During the pandemic, patients visited for COVID-related issues like testing, vaccinations, and respiratory care, but were hesitant to visit medical facilities for non-COVID conditions in fear of contracting diseases.

Now, UC clinics are vastly different as patient sentiment has again changed. This transformation can be attributed to shifts in patient behavior and the economic impact of healthcare decisions. Additionally, the end of the public health emergency (PHE) has stripped millions of Americans of their Medicaid coverage, further amplifying the issue of healthcare access, and adding to the uncertainty surrounding patient healthcare coverage.

According to a 2022 Gallup report, 38% of Americans delayed seeking medical care due to cost implications, marking a 12% increase from the previous year. This reflects the growing concerns surrounding healthcare affordability, having a profound impact on when and where patients seek medical attention. Rising deductibles, changes in insurance coverage, and the economic conditions following the pandemic have led individuals to reconsider their healthcare choices, often delaying care until conditions worsen and requiring costly emergency room (ER) visits.

The worsening of these cases is often preventable if patients seek care when they first notice symptoms, and UCs can help fill this gap as an alternative to an ER visit. With robust education through marketing initiatives, the value of a practice and the services it can provide throughout the community will ensure patients have the information needed to make educated decisions about their healthcare.

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Health IT Startup: DocuTAP

DocuTAP crafts on-demand healthcare software and services that make over a thousand urgent care clinics run efficiently. We design a tablet-based EHR and PM, offer RCM services, and refine patient workflow.

Elevator pitch

A better urgent care experience. 

Founders’ story

In May of 2000, DocuTAP’s founders realized that wireless devices would play an increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare. From that day, DocuTAP software was designed for use on handheld wireless devices. Founding CEO, Eric McDonald dreamed up the idea behind DocuTAP in his basement back in 1999. Eric spent his time consulting with physicians. In 2000, Eric officially started DocuTAP as a company with the help of angel investors. Today, he leads client relations and provides company direction and vision for technology and product design while being viewed as a thought leader in the urgent care industry.

Marketing/promotion strategy

DocuTAP works with urgent care clinics to provide a range of solutions and services including electronic health records, practice management, patient engagement solutions, analytics, billing services and consulting. As the healthcare industry continues to adopt on-demand models to serve the evolving healthcare consumer, DocuTAP provides the necessities for facilities to deliver efficient, affordable and good quality care.

Market opportunity

The healthcare industry is changing. Patients are becoming consumers, and the healthcare consumer wants access to quick and convenient care- without booking out months in advance to still wait in multiple waiting rooms. DocuTAP serves urgent care clinics, however increasingly other healthcare verticals such as pediatrics are adopting on-demand business models increasing the different markets that are in search for the tools and solutions DocuTAP provides. As with every other industry, healthcare must now market themselves to the healthcare consumer, to not only attract visitors but keep them coming back. By keeping patients out of the waiting room with online scheduling and monitoring, allowing physicians to finish a chart completely in under two minutes, and optimizing the work flow of the front desk, DocuTAP gives urgent care clinics the resources to market all of these capabilities to consumers and deliver on these promises each and every time.

Who are your competitors?

DocuTAP has competitors that offer some of the services and solutions they offer, but not in the end-to-end capacity that DocuTAP does. Given DocuTAP’s all-encompassing service and solution offering, DocuTAP considers a few companies who offer similar services competitors.

How does your company differentiate itself from the competition and what differentiates DocuTAP?

DocuTAP’s key differentiator is they are not just a software provider, they are an end-to-end business partner. Each customer who works with DocuTAP relies on them for software, consulting, strategic advice, technical support, and expert insights. Whatever a customer needs, they are able to go to DocuTAP for, something competitors are not offering.

DocuTAP has a deep and extensive log of valuable data, available to visualize and pull out useful trends and findings that give them an edge in the market.

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Custom Mobile Apps for Urgent Care: Pros and Cons

By Darya Danikovich, IT journalist, Softvelopers.

Darya Danikovich
Darya Danikovich

As the healthcare industry is strongly focused on efficient workflow, mobile apps are what can help doctors and patients interact on the go. According to a survey, 90 percent of medical institutions already use or plan to use mobile apps for patient treatment and/or internal management. With the growing number of hospitals that start to launch mobile apps, there has increased a need to shift away from the one-app-fits-all model to systems that serve to accomplish specific tasks. Urgent care clinics are the first in line to try enhance the efficiency of their work by turning to mobile applications.

To provide preventive care to more patients, most healthcare systems have created retail and urgent care clinics for people to visit and arrange an appointment on the same day. While retail centers provide mostly basic services, for instance, chronic conditions treatment, urgent care clinics deal with more serious cases. Also, such clinics typically have labs and offer X-Ray services. That’s why it is very important to provide these medical centers with appropriate software that will serve the overarching goal – effective patient treatment. So why not use a mobile app to improve the entire workflow? Let’s weigh up all the pros and cons.

Benefits and drawbacks of custom mobile apps for urgent care

If you plan to get a custom mobile app for an urgent care center, thoroughly consider finances, time and energy that you are going to invest in the project. If an app is developed to serve doctors, then all the risks are worth taking. Apps for smartphones and tablets speed up urgent care delivery and help doctors find the fastest solution in code blue situations.

Another matter is getting a mobile app to serve patients. The urgent care market focuses quite narrowly on doctor-on-demand apps for patients. Moreover, most patients turn to urgent care less than 2 times a year. So is the effort justified? Apps may be installed when needed and removed if not needed any more. That’s why it seems reasonable to download an app from the App Store or use a website to get the updated patient information.

What is the best solution for urgent care providers

Though custom mobile apps for urgent care centers may be optional, there is always a strong need in other software. Clinics demand healthcare management information systems (HMIS), custom imaging and visualization apps, patient administration systems, electronic health record (EHR) systems and other medical software to improve patient outcomes and meet the needs of a certain clinic and its staff. Healthcare policy management software can aid the facility in its short- and long-term management goals while considering the stringent regulations and healthcare standards.

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How Virtual Consults Can Benefit the Emergency Department

By Lee Horner, CEO, Synzi.

Lee Horner
Lee Horner

In urgent care situations, being able to provide timely and quality healthcare is essential to the impact and satisfaction of the ED staff and related EMS team members. Using telehealth, current ED workflows can be enhanced to increase access and make collaboration between onsite providers and offsite colleagues and specialists easier and more timely. Virtual care platforms can rapidly improve the delivery of care, effectively addressing urgent patient needs while reconciling the gap in having available specialists on-hand / in-person for immediate consults. Virtual consults are a viable and valuable solution to helping improve outcomes in emergent care situations.

Providing Critical Care On-Demand in the ED

Seconds and minutes count in the ED. With a virtual care platform, a hospital’s ED staff can quickly access remote specialists and facilitate a virtual consult between offsite specialists and patients. Instead of losing crucial minutes, hours, or even critical days in the ED to call a specialist or wait for an in-person consult, ED staff can quickly reach the first available, designated specialist who can deliver a timely virtual consult and provide guidance as to diagnosis, admission, and/or transfer. With virtual care technology, specialists can provide the needed consult from anywhere and on any device. Key decisions as to whether the patient needs to be admitted, transferred or discharged can be made in minutes (vs. hours or days). The costs involved with keeping a patient in the ED are also contained, and the hours or days which a patient spends in the ED are reduced. As hospitals struggle to have multiple specialists on-hand at any time, virtual consult platforms can empower hospitals to leverage specialists within their networks to support their patient care objectives around-the-clock.

Reducing Waiting Time and Minimizing Leakage in the ED

Virtual care platforms are also being used to reduce waiting times in the ED and deliver routine care to patients with non-emergent conditions. In a recent study published in Telemedicine and e-Health, rural hospitals using telehealth reduced the time between patients entering the ED to receiving physician care, according to University of Iowa researchers.

Virtual care had decreased door-to-provider time by six minutes. The researchers also concluded that the length of stay in the ED of the initial hospital was shorter for patients who were eventually transferred but had initially participated in a virtual care consultation. At New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, the Express Care program allows patients with minor injuries or non-life-threatening symptoms to be seen virtually by an offsite provider via video. When asked by the Wall Street Journal, “What’s the number one complaint of patients in the emergency room?” Rahul Sharma, the emergency physician-in-chief at Weill Cornell, responded: “Wait time.”

The hospital reported that the Express Care telehealth program has cut the average wait time in the hospital’s ED by more than half; between 35 to 40 minutes. As hospitals struggle to prevent leakage and minimize the chance of patients leaving their ED waiting room for another healthcare setting, virtual consults can help the waiting patients access the diagnoses and care they need in a more timely and convenient manner.

Expanding Impact into the Community

ED staff can also use virtual care platforms to expand their impact within their respective communities.  Rural hospitals face some of the biggest deficits in terms of having a range of specialists on staff. Providers in these hospitals can have access to a greater pool of specialists who can support urgent patient care via video when a particular specialist is not already on staff or readily available in-person.  Giving ED staff the ability to facilitate virtual consults on-demand improves their impact within their own community – regardless of distance between the ED and the specialist. ED staff can also conduct HIPAA-compliant virtual meetings to drive better collaboration amongst the broader care team across the care continuum. Communication can be maintained with the appropriate care team members (including the patient’s PCP, a pharmacist, a coordinator at the next care facility, etc.) to ensure the patient’s overall health needs are regularly discussed and addressed in the ED and during the transition of care – without requiring care team members to drive to/from meetings at different locations and facilities.

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Making the Most of Meaningful Use Deadlines

Guest Column by Val Van’t Hul, Meaningful Use Project Manager, DocuTAP.

Val Van’t Hul

Providers at urgent care centers around the country are preparing to attest for either Stage 1 or Stage 2 meaningful use this year, and knowing the differences in reporting periods can make a huge difference in the process. Reporting periods vary depending on which stage an eligible professional (EP) is in, and whether a provider is attesting through the Medicaid or Medicare EHR incentive program.

To further explain this process, here are the reporting periods for 2014 indicated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):


An EP must select any 90-day reporting period that falls within the 2014 calendar year. Since Medicaid is state government-based, urgent care centers are tasked with researching any particular rules and regulations that pertain to their location, as these vary from state to state.


An EP participating in the first year of meaningful use (Stage 1, year 1) must select any 90-day reporting period. However, to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment the EP must begin the reporting period by July 1 and submit attestation data by October 1, 2014. This grace period is designed to help clinics that are still working out best practices and processes for attestation.

Medicare – An EP who is beyond their first year of Meaningful Use (Stage 1, year 2 or beyond) must select a three-month reporting period that is fixed to the quarter of the calendar year (i.e. July to September or October to December). There is not one quarter that is better than others for reporting, but clinics should keep in mind that there should be ample time to implement any changes in clinical workflow prior to the start of the reporting period. If an EHR vendor is properly certified for Meaningful Use and the urgent care client can begin the process, they may choose a later reporting period to allow time to properly order their workflow.

Meaningful Use Tracking & Reporting

Urgent care centers should monitor clinical workflow progress often to benchmark the eligible professional’s progress in working toward achieving Meaningful Use objectives. It is wise to run meaningful use reports from the EHR software, as well as conduct a provider analysis every few weeks to find out where and how adjustments need to be made in the progression toward these objectives. If EPs are falling below a preferred threshold in any area, this benchmarking provides ample time to get up-to-speed on clinic initiatives.

In addition to implementing tracking measures, it is necessary to understand the importance of delineating between “yes or no” and numerator/denominator reports. While the former are fairly self-explanatory (i.e. as with drug interaction checks), clinics should take careful documentation measures to prove compliance, including taking regular screenshots of what is happening in a clinic’s EHR software system during the reporting period. For example, when pop-ups of patient medicinal allergies occur, a screenshot of this notification, along with a date/time stamp, should be taken and a copy kept on file for up to six years, as this is the standard amount of time for which CMS may audit the eligible professionals.

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