Over the last five years, there has been tremendous growth in family and urgent care clinics. This trend follows the movement to bring care closer to home, and consumers like them because they also provide easy scheduling, and often, savings. They also help close the gaps on delayed care, providing a means for some populations to overcome barriers to treatment.
As health care continues to shift to these family care clinics, so do HCTec’s capabilities to support them. Our experience working with health systems seamlessly translates to support the IT needs of these providers, particularly as many of them transition to more robust EHR systems to securely share patient information, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and reduce costs.
Urgent care clinics handle about 89 million patient visits each year, which is 29% of all primary care visits in the U.S. With that kind of patient volume, efficiency is vital for these tiny-but-mighty facilities to succeed. By advancing EHR capabilities, they can streamline patient information, eliminate paperwork, reduce internal costs, and perhaps most significantly, connect into the larger healthcare ecosystem, laying the groundwork for referrals or even acquisitions.
While there are EHRs developed specifically for the urgent care space, they isolate these facilities from larger health systems. Interoperability is the future of healthcare and key to growth and expansion.
Improving the Patient Experience
Robust EHRs also offer a better patient experience by connecting health information, bills, appointments, and telemedicine consults into one platform—the patient portal. With better connectivity, providers at other facilities can access patient information, eliminating the need for a patient to receive a duplicate test or procedure.
Perhaps most importantly, a robust EHR equates with better patient outcomes. An October 2020 study in the American Journal of Managed Care found that a seamlessly shared inpatient-outpatient EHR was associated with greater rates of post-discharge follow-up delivered through telemedicine or lab monitoring. Since outpatient clinicians often have limited access to complete information from recent hospitalizations, efforts like these to expand interoperability and information exchange may support follow-up care efficiency.
Taking the Leap
EHRs like Epic, Cerner, McKesson, and others are robust, with capabilities far beyond the scope of a family care clinic’s needs. However, as outlined above, there are significant benefits to going big. EHR implementation is a significant undertaking, but with small staffs, these facilities need substantial help. And, with equally small budgets, finding the right partner can be a challenge.
HCTec prides itself on scalability. We adapt to the client’s needs so that they can deliver on their mission of providing exceptional patient care, whether in a large hospital system or in a small urgent care clinic. While we can deliver end-to-end solutions, train, staff and more, we work with our clients to maximize impact.