Franchises can deliver great pizza, quick car washes, fresh pressed juice, 24/7-gyms, and now healthcare. The healthcare franchise industry is booming and it is expected to continue to grow in the upcoming years. Let’s take a closer look at the factors driving the health care franchising boom, as well as how the franchise model can deliver affordable, quality care in an industry plagued by high-costs and rising prices.
Rising healthcare costs. The costs of healthcare in the US are rising and they are rising rapidly. For example, as a recent New York Times article points out, a colonoscopy, a routine medical procedure, typically costs well over $3,500 in the US. In many other developed countries the bill for the procedure it just a couple of hundred. US patients routinely pay three to four times more for healthcare than citizens of other developed nations. And research shows that the quality of US care isn’t necessarily better. By franchising medical facilities, operators can keep overhead low, helping to cut costs.
More patients. Millions of people are expected to seek care under the Affordable Care Act, placing an additional burden on an already overwhelmed healthcare system. Tracy Weise, the founder of a Denver-based firm that provides marketing services to physicians, explains, “If you look at the growing population and demographics, there aren’t enough physicians, period, to cover people who need healthcare. That’s why franchising as a healthcare model makes sense. It creates the systems and processes that take the headaches out of insurance and billing. It creates better access and greater access in a lot of different places. It takes all the best practices and implements them in a system to create the best delivery at the lowest cost in the most places.”
An aging Baby Boomer population. In addition to the influx of patients generated by the Affordable Care Act, the aging Baby Boomer population is also expected to put stress on the supply of medical resources. As this population consumes a higher percentage of health care resources the ability to serve more patients while maintaining low overhead costs will become even more crucial.
The bottom line is that franchising is an efficient way to offer more affordable, higher quality care.
A perfect example is the chiropractic franchise, The Joint. The Joint was founded in 2008 now has 140 units and hopes to open an additional 120 by the end of the year. What is the secret to The Joint’s success? Well, essentially the franchise relies on economies of scale and makes use of a membership model. The franchise has cut insurance companies totally out of the equation, offering four appointments for $49 to members, less than the typical chiropractic insurance co-pay. The franchise only takes walk in appointments and is open on nights and weekends, ensuring that patients never have to wait for attention. Because of the membership model, members are encouraged to come in regularly to prevent problems. This preventive care helps to cut costs down the line. “We can provide services more efficiently and cheaper than a traditional practice can,” explains John Leonesio, The Joint’s founder. “With our organization and technology, chiropractors can be a lot more efficient and still make a good living, which in turn makes a good franchise model.”
All in all, it looks like this franchise healthcare model is gaining momentum across the country. And it’s not just patients who are flocking to healthcare franchises. Doctors are as well, attracted to excellent benefit packages and competitive pay. Furthermore, less managerial work and paperwork means that doctors can focus on doing what they love: treating patients. Whether chiropractic care, urgent care, or an annual teeth cleaning franchise models are proving that they can offer health care services at reduced costs and high-quality.
Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete.com. ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.