The healthcare movement toward retailization and patient-focused care took a step forward in DFW this year with Texas Health’s opening of several new urgent care facilities that are changing the practice. The health system is investing $44 million in the launch of 20 Texas Health Breeze Urgent Care clinics over the next year, and they are changing the patient experience.
COVID-19 catalyzed to shift most providers to launch telehealth systems and apps, which significantly reduced wait times and inconvenient waiting rooms. Breeze Urgent Care, which is Texas Health’s first foray into the urgent care space, has adopted those changes and other innovative practices such as transparent pricing, onsite pharmacies, and concierge service as the patient moves through the clinic.
Patients can book online appointments and will be paired with a concierge when they arrive. This employee will check them in, walk them to their room, and cross-trained to take blood, triage, x-ray, or do imaging that may be necessary. Besides the provider, this will be the only person the patient interacts with, meaning no waiting rooms and no repeating symptoms to several different people.
“There’s no more traditional check-in desks or waiting in a crowded lobby with other sick people. Instead, patients will be greeted by a personal clinical concierge, a point person who will guide them through their entire visit from arrival to discharge,” said Jamie Harraid, Texas Health vice president of ambulatory services via release. “Each patient will also be seen by a Texas Health nurse practitioner or physician assistant who can diagnose their condition, answer their questions, and provide various treatment options.”
The model also includes up-front pricing, meaning patients will know how much things will cost before they do it, a rarity in healthcare. For those with insurance, the $50 copay will cover everything, and for those who are paying for themselves, all services are capped at $185. Individual services will be posted on the clinic’s website to communicate transparent pricing. “Just like in every other service or product that we that we interact with, we want to know what it’s going to cost upfront,” Harraid says.
Another differentiator is the onsite pharmacy. Patients will be able to have a telehealth visit with a pharmacist via a kiosk at the clinic after the appointment to ask questions about the medication. Afterward, they can pick up the prescription from the clinic. Prices for the medications are also included in the flat fee. The goal is to have patients in and out with necessary medications in 30 minutes, Harraid says.
The staff goes through four weeks of training to handle all that may be asked of them, from registration to phlebotomy, before they can work as a concierge at the Breeze clinics. Texas Health staffs the clinics from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 365 days a year to serve busy patients. They are targeting younger individuals and families who are on the go. “We want to make this quick and convenient for consumers while providing the kind of quality care you’d find in any doctor’s office,” said Glenn Owen, M.D., medical director of Texas Health Breeze Urgent Care via release. “In most cases, people will be heading back home within a half-hour, with medications in hand, so they don’t have to stop at the local pharmacy to pick up a prescription.”
There will be four Breeze clinics open by the end of the year in McKinney, North Dallas, Southlake, and Allen. By the summer of 2021, there will be 20 clinics across Dallas-Fort Worth, focusing on Dallas and the northern suburbs.