CHICAGO (May 30, 2023) — Upfront Healthcare, the company behind the industry-leading patient engagement platform, is doubling down on its support of urgent care centers with the launch of a new business unit dedicated to creating sustained patient loyalty and revenue in the high-demand sector.
The initiative comes on the heels of the company’s 2022 acquisition of PatientBond, a leader in consumer science for healthcare and a trusted partner in the urgent care space. Leveraging decades of shared leadership expertise, Upfront’s new division is dedicated to addressing urgent care centers’ unique business challenges with the company’s innovative patient activation solutions, including increasing patient traffic, optimizing operations, and improving payment efficiencies while reducing collections costs.
While the number of urgent care sites has grown steadily over the years, the model exploded during the pandemic as patients searched for quick, convenient options to schedule appointments, obtain tests, and receive treatments. Patient volume has surged more than 60% since 2019, according to the Urgent Care Association, an industry trade group.
Today, there are roughly 11,150 urgent care centers in the U.S., which handle nearly 30% of all primary care visits or about 89 million patient visits annually. With demand growing, Upfront recognized a need to provide ongoing client support within the vertical.
How Upfront used personalized messaging to increase return patient volume at WellNow
The strategic investment represents continued investment into a market where Upfront already has a notable footprint — supporting over 700 locations nationwide including WellNow Urgent Care.
In 2017, WellNow engaged Upfront to drive innovation and revenue opportunities throughout its system of walk-in urgent care clinics. Despite high patient satisfaction rates, the company was struggling to retain patients and schedule them for future care, impacting the system’s cost-effectiveness.
To encourage patients to return for follow-up visits, Upfront worked with WellNow to deploy proactive digital outreach — including condition-specific messaging and tailored SMS text messaging post-visit. Upfront also created a brief customer survey to assess patient symptoms related to their diagnosis, and implemented automated scheduling prompts to ease appointment scheduling.
Throughout the duration of the project, Upfront’s patient engagement solutions helped WellNow boost its return volume and generate 6x in revenue, a number that equates to more than $1.6 million annually.
Building a purpose-built urgent care team
Now, Upfront plans to apply personalized patient solutions to support its growing roster of urgent care partners and navigate even more patients to necessary care.
With the company’s acquisition of PatientBond, which has been a major player in urgent care for more than a decade, Upfront is reinforcing its commitment to urgent care providers with strategies designed to increase and sustain revenue, lower costs, and drive a high level of patient satisfaction to attract new patients, push repeat visits, and become the “go-to” provider for patients’ non-emergency healthcare needs.
Like other healthcare enterprises, urgent care centers face immense challenges around acquiring and retaining patients, said Carrie Kozlowski, COO & Co-founder at Upfront. These pressures have impacted the strategic direction of many sites, as organizations seek to shore up squeezed margins.
“Many of our clients are focused on adding primary care services, specialists, and engaging in value-based contracting to shift the focus toward quality rather than the quantity of visits,” Kozlowski added. “By leveraging Upfront’s personalization analytics, we can support urgent care organizations by optimizing patients’ experience before, during, and after an initial visit, driving higher retention rates and increased utilization of additional services. It’s just one more way we’re influencing better health outcomes and ensuring patients get the care they need — agnostic of the setting.”
Upfront has appointed Trevor Anderson, senior vice president of Client Strategy, to lead the division. Anderson previously spent more than six years working alongside urgent care organizations and played a significant role in the build-out of PatientBond’s urgent care practice.
He is charged with bringing Upfront’s innovative patient engagement solutions to urgent care partners and ramping up the company’s team of product managers, client strategists, and technical specialists.
“We are thrilled to appoint Trevor as the head of our newly formed urgent care business unit,” said Kozlowski. “His deep understanding of the agility demands of the urgent care sector, coupled with his fundamental belief that all high-performing digital engagement programs must start with a personal touch, make him a natural fit for the role. We look forward to leveraging his intimate knowledge of the space and his ability to forge lasting client relationships.”
Upfront has added Scott Baldwin as product manager, and Abbie Ginther, who will serve as client strategy principal under the Urgent Care team. Together, they will be responsible for delivering workflows specially designed for the urgent care vertical.
To further shape the development of Upfront’s urgent care division, the company has formed an urgent care user group. The user group offers clients an opportunity to learn about new Upfront products and features and allows them to share valuable feedback to help the company better support their existing and future business needs within the urgent care sector.
About Upfront Healthcare
Upfront Healthcare is a mission-driven healthcare company, delivering tangible outcomes to leading healthcare enterprises. Upfront’s patient engagement platform makes each patient feel seen, guiding their care experience through hyper-personalized omnichannel outreach. The backbone of the Upfront experience is the platform, which analyzes clinical and patient-reported data fused with psychographic segmentation and behavioral science to activate patients to complete necessary care, show up for visits, and close any gaps in care. Upfront is rooted in partnership, leveraging best-in-class healthcare expertise to maximize the impact of its technology to deliver a next-generation patient experience.