There’s been a lot of talk and back patting over the huge growth the urgent care industry has seen for the last few years. It’s a healthy industry right now, and it should continue to see growth for years to come, but that growth is going to be occurring in different ways than it has in the past. The current model is not infinitely sustainable, and the number of new entrants to the market is going to swiftly decline in a few years.
If the urgent care operators that are currently in business want to survive and continue to see healthy profits, then they are going to have to make some changes to the way they do business. They cannot just coast along on the success of the market forever.
What many analysts are proposing is that the smaller urgent care centers join up with larger ones. It doesn’t just have to be other urgent care centers they partner with. They could come under the umbrella of insurance companies, retailers or hospital networks. All of these provide financial stability and decrease the amount of competition they have to deal with. While competition is healthy for the industry, if there is too much of it in a localized area, then everyone there has to fight over smaller and smaller scraps.
By partnering with someone else, the urgent care centers will increase their profits and their ability to grow. They will take their competition out of consideration, becoming part of a larger entity that has more resources to draw from.
They will also benefit from customer referrals. Right now, most hospitals and urgent care centers don’t offer the same set of services. Hospitals are more about long term care while urgent care centers offer immediate care at affordable prices. If they were to join together, when a patient comes into the hospital that isn’t really a good fit for what they offer, the hospital can refer that customer to their urgent care partner.
This ensures that the customer is still spending money on their network and isn’t going elsewhere to get what they need. They are able to retain their customers, which gives them more room to grow. It’s definitely something that urgent care centers should be considering moving forward. It might get rid of their freedom to operate the way they want to, but the financial stability could definitely be worth it.