By 2060, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to jump to 95 million, up from 52 million in 2018. In fact, from just 2016 to 2018 alone, this population increased by 2.8 million people. As people age, they tend to need more medical care. This growing group, which will make up nearly 23% of the United States’ population over the next few decades, will be no exception.
Because of this, more and more senior-focused primary care clinics have been opening across the country. But what are these clinics and what makes them different? And more importantly, what factors do you need to consider if you’re planning to open one?
Senior Care Clinics Defined
Senior care clinics concentrate on preventive care and aim to manage the overall health of those aged 65 and older, as opposed to managing episodic illness. These primary care clinics coordinate care between patients, caregivers, and specialists with the ultimate goal of keeping their patient population out of the hospital. This is done through in-person, phone, and/or video visits with doctors, nurses, and other 24/7 support staff who focus on building relationships with patients to better understand their needs.
These types of clinics are run by health systems, insurers, and independent entities (which are sometimes backed by private equity). For example, the health systems Intermountain Healthcare and Geisinger have had success with this model, as has the independent Oak Street Health, which recently went public, and the insurance provider Humana.
A number of factors other than an increasing senior population have contributed to the growth of these clinics. One of these factors is the explosion of Medicare Advantage versus traditional Medicare. Typically, Medicare Advantage offers more coverage than traditional Medicare for a similar price, including routine dental, vision, and hearing care. Some senior care clinics are opening to serve the Medicare Advantage population specifically.
So, You Want to Open a Senior Care Clinic
If you’re considering opening a senior care clinic, one of the most important factors to consider is ensuring you have access to the right population. But to do that, you need to define who your right population is.
Relying on demographics alone, like age or income level, to create this definition will not be as beneficial as understanding the many different behaviors of this population. Because this age group is so large, these consumers have different needs, lifestyles, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, some consumer segments age 65 and older care more about proactive healthcare than others, and some live an active lifestyle, while others don’t. Knowing which segments constitute your core patient base is key.
Once you understand who your core patient is, next comes site selection. Conducting a potential analysis using a site score model will allow you to see the best possible combination of trade areas where you could open clinics. An analysis like this takes many factors account, such as concentrations of your core patient, demand, competition, and more. With this analysis, you can then begin to look for the best real estate to build a senior clinic with easy access, visibility, signage, and plenty of parking.
Supporting Your Clinic
Now that you’ve found your core patient population and located the best sites to open, it’s time to support your new clinic with marketing.
When it comes to marketing your clinic, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. When this age group receives great service, they’re going to tell their friends. Similarly, most of the baby boomers now aging into this life stage are digitally savvy, which opens the door to online reviews as well.
However, the seniors themselves aren’t always the only decision-makers in these situations. Reaching the adult children of this population is key when it comes to generating awareness of your senior care clinic. While this is more difficult since less data exists to help identify consumers in a care-giving role, SEO and paid search are good tools to start with. The easier your clinic is to find online, the better.
Convincing people to switch doctors is a challenge that can be addressed with good, targeted marketing. Turning 65 is a big life event, which also makes it a big opportunity for senior care clinics and providers as more and more people age in every day. Because people may be more willing to change doctors when they reach this stage, consider initiating contact with potential core patients before they turn 65. That way, once they hit that big milestone, your clinic is a familiar face, not a new player.
The Bottom Line
Senior primary care clinics are growing along with the percentage of the population over 65 and the adoption of Medicare Advantage. To best capitalize off these trends, it’s important to know the types of consumers who would go to a senior care clinic for their healthcare needs as well as where to find them.
To learn more about finding your right population, market optimization, and growing your current offerings, check out Buxton’s Healthcare Solutions.