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The Business Case for Virtual Urgent Care

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, September 23, 2013

Virtual Urgent Care is also a potential referral source to Franciscan's ED and primary care network, as well as a way to capture some business from consumers who do not seek regular care, Robertson says.

"We have metrics around the number of patients in our service area without established primary care relationships. Those patients would be referred in our system as appropriate," he says. "We also realize there is a subset of the population—the 'young indestructibles'—for whom their only encounter with the healthcare system is urgent care."

Additionally, Robertson notes that because patients pay the flat $35 charge with a credit card up front, much of the revenue cycle work that is usually required to collect payment is eliminated. "We are not chasing after the insurance," he says, noting that if a patient is referred to an ED or brick-and-mortar urgent care center for treatment, the fee is waived.

So far, patients appear to like the service. Of Franciscan's employees who have used the service, 92% report being satisfied with their experience.

"Patient satisfaction is off the charts," Robertson says. "It's amazing, but it's also a no-brainer. We are actually doing something that makes sense from a patient perspective, and it's truly adding value. This is so old, it's new, if you think about how primary care was delivered 40 years ago."

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