Academic journal article
By Lane, Wilburn C.
Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies , Vol. 17, No. 1
This case is about an urgent care clinic that has used a very elaborate differentiation strategy to establish a competitive advantage against competition that has much greater resources. The personal values and experiences of the owners play an integral part in their developing this business model and how they run the business. The industry analysis contained in this case points out the driving forces and Key Success Factors (KSF) of the walk-in clinic industry. Also, the case contains appropriate information for a SWOT analysis. The case is designed to be used in a senior level business policy or marketing strategies class. This class is designed to be taught in one class period of 50-75 minutes. The amount of time the student is expected to spend outside of class will vary from 1-3 hours based on how many of the questions in the "teaching notes " are assigned.
This is the story of an urgent care clinic that has developed a successful strategy that allows it to complete extremely well against the largest medical clinic in its community and to insulate itself from the threat of the retail walk-in-clinic. The author's childhood experience of visiting Disneyland and his continued fascination with "The Disney Way" has allowed him to develop a strategy that gives him a sustainable competitive advantage. His focus on the "experience" his patients have when they come to his clinic separates him from the competition. To enhance the patient's "experience," Physicians Quality Care has created the position of "Patient Concierge," built a movie theatre in the clinic, put in a mechanical ride for children, and bought a cappuccino machine to provide patients with free cappuccinos. His emphasis on customer service can be seen in how he hires and trains employees. As you read this case you will feel like you are in Disneyland taking a trip down "Main Street, U. S. A."
In the 1950s little Jimmy Hoppers had a life changing experience while visiting relatives in California-Disneyland. Jimmy was wowed by the amusement park, not because it was an amusement park, but because it was not like any amusement park he had ever seen. He saw an amusement park that dared to dream, that offered things that no other amusement park offered, that parents as well as children enjoyed. Jimmy never forgot this dream, and when he decided to open his own urgent care clinic after practicing medicine for twenty-five years with a large medical group in his home town of Jackson, Tennessee, he remembered the "Disney Experience" and used it as his guide for the clinic-Physicians Quality Care. As he dared to dream, he envisioned an urgent care clinic that offered its patrons free snacks, a movie theatre, a reading library, a waiting room with "current" issues of magazines, but most importantly a courteous staff.
Before we can really appreciate Physicians Quality Care's business model, we need a good understanding of the walk-in clinic business.
WALK-IN MEDICAL CLINIC INDUSTRY
When in urgent need of non-life threatening medical care, the consumer has basically three choices~the emergency room, the private physician's office, or the walk-in clinic (Ortinau 1986). The emergency room is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have a serious, possibly life-threatening illness, it may be the most appropriate choice. The down side to the emergency room is the long wait and the added cost. You may wait in the emergency room for several hours to see the doctor, and it is likely to cost you several times more money than the other options~on average $570 versus $166 for the private physician's office and $110 for the walk in clinic (Roizen 2009). The private physician's office is less expensive, but it is also less accessible. The private physician's office is normally open from 9:00 until 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and it is often difficult to get into see the doctor in a timely manner. …