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Mistake #24 — Not Marketing Occupational Medicine

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.
— James Cash Penney

Every month I meet another aspiring urgent care entrepreneur who wants to focus on marketing only to walk-in patients. Although the pure walk-in clinic model can work, without any significant marketing toward occupational medicine, you may double the initial investment (i.e., startup clinic losses) you will make in your startup urgent care center. There are plenty of reasons to focus on occupational medicine in urgent care marketing:

The human resources person not only directs drug screens, post-offer exams, and workers compensation injury care, but often is the same person who suggests to a sick employee, “You can’t get in to see your doctor today? Why don’t you just go to Acme Urgent Care Center? They are doing our occupational medicine. In fact, I just met the doctor, and she is really nice…” Can your urgent care center really afford to ignore this powerful marketing ally—the local company human resource person?

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Often employees who first visit your urgent care center for a drug screen or a workers compensation injury will think of you when they come down with the flu, cut a finger, or sprain a back. If they can’t get right in to their primary care doctor, what will they think of first? Why not—your startup urgent care center? A drug screen becomes the marketing tool that produces a walk-in urgent care visit for a medical problem. New patients are the key to measuring marketing success in starting an urgent care center. In this case, it is fantastic to realize urgent care marketing success at almost no cost. In fact, the company marketed your urgent care for you—and they even paid you (the cost of a drug screen) to market your urgent care center for you!

Urgent care centers offer an excellent alternative to the hospital emergency department for care of workers compensation injuries. In fact, many if not most workplace injuries are now seen in America’s urgent care centers. This can easily amount to half of the visits to your urgent care center. Because the state often heavily regulates workers compensation care, payments are often prompt and required by state statute.

So if you want to learn the ins and outs of marketing occupational medicine, how do you do that? The best way to learn how to how to start an urgent care center and implement occupational medicine services is to attend a full-day Pre-Conference at the Annual Convention of the Urgent Care Association of America on “Occupational Medicine in the Urgent Care Center.”