Healthcare franchising began in the 1950s but recently the industry has exploded due to a variety of contributing factors including a large aging population and the emergence of the “empowered patient” who demands affordability and convenience from the healthcare industry. Medicine is morphing away from the idea of a one-size-fits-all model and towards a retail themed model where the individual consumer’s primary needs shape delivery methods.
Evidence shows that:
- Traditional systems are moving toward franchise models. Traditional health systems have realized that the healthcare franchise model isn’t going anywhere any time soon and this represents a new revenue stream in a fiercely landscape. As a result, corporate healthcare systems are adopting franchise models and leveraging their brands using healthcare franchise industry operations. Further, conglomerate healthcare systems are buying or partnering with existing urgent care health franchises to reduce competition in the market.
- Insurance providers are “buying in”. Despite a past unwillingness to reimburse insured patients who opted for urgent care treatment, today’s healthcare franchise model is so popular that most major carriers now cover these services as a matter of routine. Further, evidence of this zeitgeist change, was the 2010 decision by Humana to acquire the largest urgent care operator in the U.S., Concentra.
- The healthcare franchise industry is increasing because mergers and acquisitions are becoming the norm among the larger industry players. Additionally, smaller healthcare franchises can merge with private practices and larger entities with relative ease. This provides financial security for the organization along with a more stable patient base.
- Patient demands are changing and as a direct result is so is the way services are being delivered. Healthcare franchise models, like their retail counterparts, are built to offer diversity allowing for an organic footprint expansion. General urgent care can live with, or apart from specialized urgent care centers like; dentistry, orthopedics, and ophthalmology while providing affordable, convenient, care on-demand.
The healthcare franchise industry shows no signs of slowing its rapid growth which makes now an exciting time to be a part of a healthcare franchise. Smart entrepreneurs and clinicians will be entering this traditionally recession proof industry and bringing with them new and exciting business plans.