The urgent care industry has boomed in the past decade, with over 10,000 facilities across the U.S. and no signs of a slow-down. When asked, AppleCare CEO Chase Finley is unfazed by the crowded marketplace. "The urgent care industry is definitely growing, which is a great thing for consumers. However, there are some variations between urgent care, immediate care and walk-in clinic operators. Candidly, we don't see other urgent care providers as competition," he says. "AppleCare is setting a new standard for care."
Recently, AppleCare held its third annual provider conference in Jekyll Island to discuss how to do just that. The theme of the conference, "Leading the Way to Exceptional Patient Experiences," lies at the heart of AppleCare's mission. "We want all of our patients to know we care about them. You can go into any urgent care facility and be treated, but we want our patients to know we look beyond their symptoms and see the person — the mom, the professional, the laborer. We want to understand our patients in a more holistic way so we can offer exceptional care."
By all accounts, the AppleCare provider retreat was an overwhelming success with 25 of Georgia's top physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in attendance. Covering topics from best practices in triage and ER transfers to process improvement, the retreat fostered lively discussions and compelling presentations.
"The response from participants was amazing," says Finley, "mainly because almost all of our speakers were peers — fellow providers and clinicians talking about real issues."
Founded in 2004 by a Brunswick physician, AppleCare Urgent and Primary Care has grown to become the largest group of primary, occupational and urgent care centers in Southern and Middle Georgia. The company's five Core Values — Quality, Compassion, Effectiveness, Trust, and Teamwork. — were developed by AppleCare clinical providers.
"Our company's vision was created by the very people who interact with and treat patients," explains Finley, "not some corporate policy maker who sits in an office all day."
During the retreat, AppleCare's Director of Mid-Level Services, Paul Kiff, reminded providers of the five core values. "We are all leaders, and we are all responsible for making sure these values inform every single decision we make, from the reception desk to seeing patients to lab work. We want patients to know that every time they visit any one of our clinics they will receive a level of care that is not only exceptional, but consistent."
Dr. Stewart Grizzard, AppleCare's associate medical director, spoke further of the patient experience. "It is not enough for a patient to feel satisfied with their level of care. We want them to know we are compassionate, that we will take time to listen, understand and treat them as person, not a diagnosis."
Finley says part of the purpose of the annual retreat is to let AppleCare providers know they have a voice. It seems it's working. "It's great to get feedback from providers who say that of all the urgent care places they've worked, AppleCare has been by far their best experience," he says.
Another provider told Finley he couldn't imagine working anywhere else, saying he hoped he'd be at AppleCare until he retired.
AppleCare currently has 14 clinics in Georgia, with two more opening later this fall, and hopes to open 12 to 16 more over the next three years. It seems the key to AppleCare's success is not only in seeing their patients as people, but in seeing their providers as people too.
Founded in 2004 by a Brunswick physician, AppleCare has grown to become the largest group of primary, occupational, and immediate care centers across southeast and central Georgia. Privately held and headquartered in Savannah, with 14 medical centers - including hospital joint venture partnerships – our AppleCare locations see over 130,000 patient encounters per year, with over 150 providers and staff. With flexible and convenient weekday, evening and weekend hours, patients can visit any AppleCare location – with, or without an appointment. Our medical centers feature easy accessibility, comfortable reception areas, exam rooms, labs, x-ray, trauma area, and drug screening to meet a range of medical needs. AppleCare is a convenient, cost effective alternative to emergency rooms for non-life threatening situations. For patients, our services include primary and family care such as annual wellness visits and physicals, colds and flu, vaccines and shots, and much more, all starting for children over six months. Our immediate care (urgent care) services include fractures, broken bones, aches, pains, cuts, sprains … anytime you need to see a doctor for a non-life threatening emergency. For employers we offer occupational health and workers compensation. Please visit applecaredoctors.com or visit one of our centers to learn more.