At Merchant Medicine, our singular focus is helping hospital systems and large medical groups compete at the highest level with their on-demand medicine service lines.  The Merchant Medicine team has a depth of experience in the field of on-demand medicine unrivaled by other consulting firms.  Our proprietary competitor database and advanced market assessment methodology are not available anywhere else.  We are innovators deeply involved in the on-demand community with a primary focus on collaborating with health systems and large medical groups who must compete head to head with disruptive forces in this space.

Engagement Specialties

Since 2007, Merchant Medicine has brought innovative methodologies, tools and benchmarking data to the forefront of on-demand medicine engagements.  Most of our work involves working with health systems and their employed medical groups go from concept to doors-open on consumer-centric, on-demand service lines.  Here are some of the specific areas we cover:

  • Executive Alignment – Is your CEO Cabinet on the same page?
  • Competitive Assessments – Do you face a significant competitive threat?
  • Available Market Analyses – How many annual visits are there in your market?
  • Operations Assessments – Before you grow current operations, how well do perform compared to top national operators?
  • P&L Analyses – Key metrics compared to top national operators.
  • Growth Planning and Execution – Capex budget and timing, market analytics and site identification, site design, project management.
  • Organizational Development – Staff models, recruitment strategies, assessment tools, leadership development.
  • Post-Merger Integration – Getting the most out of acquired operations.
  • Revenue Cycle Assessments – The place in the urgent care back office where hospital systems fail most.
  • Primary Care Integration – Hybrid primary care/urgent care model development.
  • Emergency Department/Primary Care Shift Patterns – How does urgent care impact these service lines.
  • Governance and Ownership Structure – Can’t get out of your own way?
  • Marketing – Grand opening strategies and ongoing marketing using consumer analytics to compete with the most sophisticated operators.
  • Technology – Planning and implementation around EMR, queue management, pre-registration, customer satisfaction scoring.
  • Telehealth – Where to make the most of telemedicine technology.
  • Management Services and Leadership – We bridge the gap for clients who want to open their doors before a fully capable team is in place.

Sample Case Studies

A large medical group in the Northeast was faced with increasing competition while at the same time entering into risk-based payer contracts.  The group found itself referring patients to a local urgent care center in order to meet the cost incentives in its payer contracts.  Yet, this urgent care center, operated by a competitive medical group, would refer downstream cases away from our client’s specialists.  MM was retained to conduct a comprehensive market analysis and present recommendation that included the identification of a joint venture partner.  Client executed a definitive agreement to open urgent care centers that would become a far more consumer-centric option than those operated by its competitor.

A large academic medical center in the South was operating two urgent care centers in one of the most saturated walk-in medicine markets in the country, with three private-equity-backed urgent care operators and the top-three retail clinic operators.  When its most significant hospital competitor formed a joint venture with one of these private-equity-backed urgent care operators MM was retained to conduct a complete market analysis.  MM then developed a site selection and operating plan to enable this organization to re-launch its walk-in medicine operation on a stronger footing.

A large, multi-hospital health system on the West Coast operated a number of retail clinics and urgent care centers across a broad geographic area.  The system was disappointed with their retail clinic performance and retained MM to conduct a market assessment and operations analysis for one of its primary regions.  The resulting analysis showed that the system overbuilt walk-in medicine capacity based on the service area population and demographics.  MM recommended specific closures, a course of action that was undertaken by the health system.

A $350M+ annual revenue health system in the northeastern U.S. has a full suite of capabilities and existing urgent care centers.  The system is a long-standing innovator with a legacy of strong community reputation, top financial credit rating, system-based health plan, strong payer contracts, and dominant regional position.  Client recognized the strategic nature of its urgent care platform and faces new market competition with rate pressures from a private-equity backed urgent care operators and publicly traded hospital systems.  This health system was concerned with outside firms steering patients into other hospitals. Client retained MM to run a three-month financial and operational diagnostic on existing urgent care centers, devise a strategy and build a playbook to strengthen market presence, and add units to grow their service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in a follow-on central leadership role as Urgent Care Director to implement recommended changes, including driving transformation projects, governance, and focusing on competitive best practices.

A $2.5B+ annual revenue health system in the mid-Atlantic has 5-10 urgent cares and extensive health system resources, including innovative health plan products.  Client is a top-earning system in the U.S. and financially strong.  System also controls the local market and has multiple freestanding emergency departments and primary care practices in the same markets as its urgent care business.  Client sought to turn around urgent care financial performance to reach industry benchmarks, and compete effectively against new market competition, including other systems and private-equity backed operators.  New operators were opening centers in the system's core territories and impacting service lines.  The client retained MM to conduct a detailed diagnostic on existing unprofitable urgent care centers over two months, design a financial turn-around plan with a playbook to strengthen market presence, and add units to the service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in follow-on leadership role to implement recommended changes through coaching existing management, driving a project portfolio, and instill an owner/operator mindset across the center team.

An independent $250M+ annual revenue health system in the mid-Atlantic U.S. with a teaching hospital legacy faced aggressive market entry from competing nearby health systems on all sides, including a new urgent care and other ambulatory sites within minutes of the central hospital.  The client recognized it could not afford to remain independent if it did not control the walk-in market.  It had no urgent care or retail/consumer service line experience. The client retained MM to run a market assessment, align leadership around trends, and design a full go-to-market program to build multiple urgent care centers. MM built the client's playbook to maintain independence and create an urgent care service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in a follow-on leadership role to implement recommended changes and bring an owner/operator focus to the system.