The growth of the medical franchise is booming. Just from 2008 to 2013, the number of healthcare and medical franchises nearly surpassed a growth rate of 10 percent. The demand for franchises in the healthcare industry is only set to increase with the aging population and need for patient care. In addition, consumers are interested in receiving medical care on their own terms, with shorter wait times, and for a better value. As a result, healthcare franchises are ready to meet that need.
Beyond the traditional urgent care franchise, other healthcare services are on the rise in the franchise business. Franchises, like OrthoNOW, are providing much-needed care outside the scope of the standard cough and cold. OrthoNOW is the only orthopedic urgent-care franchise in the country and aims to ensure each patient will see the same standard of treatment at each of its locations.
In a recent article, OrthoNow’s Chief Medical Officer and CEO, Dr. Alejandro Badia was quoted as saying, “To achieve that, the company is applying uniform operations for such functions as culture, clinical operations, customer service, marketing training for staff and brand look throughout its franchise system.”
Constantly improving upon the experience of the patient at the medical franchise is crucial. With the seeming gold rush that the healthcare franchise model is experiencing, the competition is becoming tough. By branching out into other types of care – aside from the standard primary urgent care model – medical franchises can capitalize on the increase in demand.
In addition, by focusing on the standardization of care across a variety of locations, medical franchises can build a brand that the consumer will know and trust. Just as everyone knows that to expect when they enter a fast food franchise, the same should be a reality for medical franchises.
Another issue to consider in healthcare franchising is the strict regulation to which this industry is susceptible. When it comes to treating patients and profit, there are a slew of federal, state, and local regulations that franchises must abide by. From fee splitting to HIPPA and Medicare Anti-Kickback statutes to corporate practice of medicine, the red tape and regulation that comes along with opening a medical franchise can be staggering. However, by having a strong franchise with clear expectation, branding, and communication opening a new location can be a breeze for the savvy entrepreneur – and many are taking advantage of the boom.
One thing that providers in the healthcare franchising industry are finding is the association with the standard franchise idea. Consumers, while demanding lower costs and more convenience, may still associate a medical franchise with a fast food chain like McDonald’s and assume the quality of care to be subpar. Those looking to get into medical franchising must have an adequate marketing budget to train the consumer on the value and quality of care they’ll receive.
Despite the challenges and possible sticking points when it comes to healthcare franchising, the trend is certainly now slowing down. It seems like a medical franchise is popping up on every corner, and with the increasing demand, expanding into other areas of healthcare is smart.