Creating an Equilibrium
In the study of microeconomics, the supply and demand model are the backbone principles which determine price fluctuation. When a market’s supply and demand reach equilibrium––that is, when competition reaches perfection and the cost of creating supply “perfectly” equals the demand––economic equilibrium is achieved, meaning revenue can be utilized to increase the quality of products, pump money back into the economy, or simply increase the value of the product. However, when the demand is higher, and supply is limited, economic disequilibrium occurs. This means few companies exist which can meet the demand; people’s needs begin to suffer.
In the age of a 21st-century pandemic, with demand for in-person appointments, rapid COVID-19 testing, and access to a vaccine existing at a rate higher than normal, it seems as though the supply and demand of healthcare has often reached disequilibrium. Despite the hardships, local urgent and primary care facilities have worked immensely hard to meet the demand, restore market equilibrium, and have done so with an abundance of grace. One such facility exists in our own backyard, hidden from within the margins of view.
SwiftCare, established in 2017 and located at 560 Wallace Rd NW in Suite 140, provides urgent care and primary care medical services, including flu shots and vaccinations, STI testing, treatment for lacerations/stitches, treatment for fractures/sprains/injuries, sports physicals, occupational medicine, skin problem treatment, musculoskeletal care, and in-house lab testing.
Despite the recent increase in demand for immediate healthcare, SwiftCare’s leadership met the public’s needs before the pandemic, during its height, and now as vaccinations are becoming more widely released.
Lora Bailey,Clinic Manager at SwiftCare, shares the experience of being an urgent and primary care facility during the early spring of 2020.
“It was a very interesting roller coaster,” says Bailey. “In the very beginning, we were uncertain of how things were going to be, and there wasn’t a lot known about COVID. It was evolving over time, and we had to hustle into what we could to accommodate those changes.”
As was common practice, SwiftCare had to work around cutting back their hours, protecting their employees, and reevaluating their business model. Upon analysis, they discovered an opportunity to increase business while serving the common good.
“We partnered with a lab that had a 48-hour turnaround, whereas the other labs we were working with had a five to seven day, if not longer, turnaround for results,” explains Bailey. “We needed those quick results so that we could advise patients on how to isolate and how to quarantine. We had to alter the way that we do business to accommodate the general public, and it really did turn things around for us.”
“The struggle was finding COVID testing, and that’s where we jumped into action and said, ‘this is not only going to benefit our fairly new business, this is going to give an opportunity for people to get accurate, quick results on testing’,” says Bailey. “We went from seeing anywhere from 10 to 17 patients a day to then seeing upwards of 60.”
While SwiftCare works to provide the best healthcare possible to its regular patients and those seeking quick coronavirus test results, they also recognize the need for those who do not always have easy access to such care.
“We are an approved urgent care for the VA mission,” says Bailey. “Through the VA, it’s oftentimes difficult to get in with their primary care provider, that’s where we come in.”
Additional initiatives SwiftCare has taken part in are local food and toy drives, pre-employment drug tests, and discounted healthcare visits to migrant workers. Bailey, whose career background originates from 13 years in the banking and finance industry, says it’s selfless work like this which helped her feel good about making the change in industry.
In an age where preventative health services have become a common practice, its positive impacts continue to astound the workers who encounter its effects on a daily basis.
“There have been several unique experiences where our providers have been treating one thing and have found another,” explains Bailey. “In one instance, we identified someone with a gallbladder issue, did some blood work on them, and then advised them to get some additional testing done over at Salem Health. They then ended up getting their gallbladder out before Thanksgiving. His wife then sent us a lengthy letter and said, ‘I can’t even believe that we went in for one thing and you guys were able––through your exam––to identify this issue.’”
Whilst praise is something a vain individual seeks, it’s the sentiment behind the words which motivate Bailey to continue her work even amidst the challenges and uncertainties that 2020 bestowed on the world.
“It’s things like that––saving someone’s life–– that make the stress and the strain, so worth it,” shares Bailey.
SwiftCare’s vision lies not only in the success of their rapid COVID-19 tests or healthcare for the disenfranchised but rather seeks to be the provider for any and all who lack the access to traditional health facilities.
“We don’t want to be a COVID testing clinic, we want to be an everything clinic,” explains Bailey. “We want to handle the bigger scope of people’s needs, and that’s going to be our focus going forward.”