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Fast (or Free) Urgent Care: “Beat the Clock” Emergency Room Guarantees

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Prompt service is the essence of urgent care, and “faster is better” has become a marketing linchpin. In fact, some providers are willing to guarantee it.

ten seconds to beat the clockIt’s practically old-school these days as many hospitals, urgent care centers and other healthcare providers have been racing to post their Emergency Room waiting times on their website, digital billboards, smartphone apps and texting services. It seems like there was a competitive wave of “fast service” advertising of ER wait times last year.

If “fast” is a good differentiation, “guaranteed fast” is an even stronger marketing message. Here’s a quick roundup of a few examples we’ve seen recently. Click through for the details of each facility;  the guarantee details vary with some stronger (and some not so strong) assurances and qualifying conditions and exceptions.

Franklin Woods Community Hospital (Johnson City, TN) They say: “ER 15 Minute Guarantee: You will be seen within 15 minutes of arrival or you'll receive a $25 gift card! Our goal is to have our patients seen by a nurse, physician or physician's assistant within 15 minutes of arrival so we can begin the treatment process.”

Northern Nevada Medical Center (Sparks, NV) They say: “15 Minute Guarantee: …we guarantee that you'll be seen by a nurse within 15 minutes or your emergency room visit is free. If you're not seen by a nurse within 15 minutes of arrival, your ER visit is free. Emergency visit costs covered by guarantee include staff and facility fees. Fees for physician, lab, pharmacy, x-rays or other diagnostic imaging procedures are excluded. This offer is revocable in the event of disaster or catastrophic occurrence.”

Emerus Emergency Hospitals (Texas locations) They say: “15 Minutes or It’s Free: Why not choose the emergency room that guarantees you will see a physician within 15 minutes or your care is free. The 15 minutes start after patient completes paperwork. Offer does not include patient transfers to other facilities or necessary prescription medication.”

Orange Urgent Care (Middletown, NY) They say: “No Wait Guarantee: Here’s how it works. Schedule your same day appointment using our online scheduler. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time. Our practitioner will evaluate you within 20 minutes of your scheduled time.  Guaranteed. If we fail to meet our promise, you will receive two free Movie Tickets after your visit.”

Emory-Adventist Hospital (Smyrma, GA) They Say: “Register to Hold My Place in Line: The current ER wait time at Emory-Adventist Hospital for patients with non-life-threatening conditions is 45 minutes, but if you hold your place in line online, we guarantee that you will see the doctor within 15 minutes of your selected time, or your ER visit is free.”

Community Urgent Care (Dearborn, MI) They say: “We guarantee that you won't wait longer than 30 minutes.”

Where are you in this range of assurance offers? We welcome your comments. Plus, there's more about urgent care marketing and advertising here.

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