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Urgent Team | Tom Dent

During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare has become the top concern for every country. Front-line health workers have become heroes to fight the virus and its effects, as well as other health issues. To provide healthcare on an urgent basis, these workers serve 24/7, 365 days a year without any halt.

Based in Nashville, TN, Urgent Team Family of Urgent Care and Walk-In Centers (UTm) recognizes the health issues that exist in communities. With seven brands across five states in the Southeast, UTm provides immediate family and urgent care with exceptional service at very affordable prices.

A leader with more than 35 years of healthcare experience, Tom Dent is the company’s Chairman and CEO. Vast experience and a futuristic vision make dent a leading healthcare leader.

Enjoy the following interview to learn more about Urgent Team’s services, the professional journey of Tom Dent, and his opinions on the current state and future of healthcare.

Give a brief about the organization, its values, mission and the aspects that make it a leader in providing quality urgent care services.

The company, owing to its experienced and talented leaders, is a vision and values-driven on-demand healthcare company that will soon have 80+ urgent and family care centres that fall under seven brands in five states.

  • Ascension Saint Thomas Urgent Care (Middle Tennessee)
  • Baptist Health Urgent Care (Arkansas)
  • Washington Regional Urgent Care (Arkansas)
  • Huntsville Hospital Urgent Care (Alabama)
  • Urgent Team Walk-in Urgent Care (Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia Arkansas)
  • Sherwood Urgent Care (Arkansas)
  • Physician Care (Southern Tennessee)

The company’s mission, vision, and valued behaviors serve to unify the team and serve as a guide to all decisions, including how we nurture the culture, allocate resources, train team members, and guide our internal and external relationships and decisions.

Our leader’s clarity provides inspiration and energy to their pursuit of our vision: To be identified as America’s foremost urgent and family care company.

Recognizing an individual’s values are often hardwired during the formative years, it is not realistic to amend team members’ individually held values.

Rather, we train and expect our team members to adopt and demonstrate certain behaviors that express our valued behaviors to our patients and team members. This emphasis is pragmatic and importantly enables them to understand how to be successful within Urgent Team, provides them with a common lexicon for discussion, and empowers individuals as they share common and clear priorities.

Integrity – Acting in an honest and ethical way.

Service – Providing patients with a “value” experience.

Relationships – Treating all individuals with dignity and respect.

Results – Insisting on optimal performance.

Measurement – Analyzing outcomes in everything we do.

Communication – Sharing information proactively.

Excellence – Pursuing continual improvement in who we are and what we do.

Identified as an “On-Demand” healthcare enterprise, these centers play a vital role in communities by providing close-to-home and work healthcare access to primary care, urgent care, wellness care and occupational health, seven days a week in underserved markets.

Walk-in patients are welcome, and our centers offer 24/7 online scheduling, as well as telemedicine visits. The company has also been entrusted with direct contracting with municipalities and employers.

Urgent Team fervently promotes a culture of integrity, compliance and performance, with a commitment to an exceptional customer experience. With a demonstrated track record of operational excellence, financial performance, and the ability to implement operational strategies, Urgent Team’s accomplished management team shares a mission to serve our communities with the highest quality, affordable and convenient care delivered by compassionate teams. All of the seasoned executive team are experienced in multi-state expansion, acquisitions and de novos.

Tell us the services offered by the organization that gives it a leading edge from the competition.

Urgent care sits, uniquely, at the intersection of healthcare, and the retail sector. Accordingly, the customer experience is vital, and the company strives to deliver an exceptional experience to every customer/patient interaction.

These patient interactions are vigorously monitored, measured and center team members are recognized and rewarded for delivering a consistent customer experience.

Healthcare consumers often believe quality healthcare is synonymous with the local established health system operating in the community for decades.

Therefore, Urgent Team frequently partners with the locally-recognized, historic health system brand providing “halo effect” for the new centers. Likewise, Urgent Team is committed to the stakeholder benefits from becoming clinically integrated with these leading healthcare systems.

Tell us about your professional journey in the healthcare industry and contribution towards the organization’s success.

I have more than 35 years of executive leadership experience both in the U.S. and UK.

In 2012, I joined Urgent Team as it was forming, and I continue to serve as Chairman of Re:Cognition Health Ltd, London, England, a global leader in clinical drug trials, and the diagnosis, treatment and care management of individuals of all forms of cognitive impairment.

In 2013, I was awarded the Land Buisson UK Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year. I also co-founded PhyCor Inc. (NASDQ-PHYC, 1987-2002), the recognized pioneer of the Physician Practice and IPA Management industry.

I have led in many other organizations such as – MedTel Intl as CEO, an international diagnostic imaging and ambulatory surgery company; was one of the founding directors (1993) of healthcare Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE-HR); and a director of private equity-backed drug trial MSO.

My experience includes working for multiple public and private companies managing groups of hospitals, performing M&A and working in managed care operations.

I am currently a Lead Director for HealthStream (NASDQ-HSTM) where I continue to serve on the board for more than 20 years. My education includes a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Mississippi State University and a Master’s Degree from George Washington University.

Share your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global healthcare sector, and the challenges you faced during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

The pandemic ushered in significant labor challenges manifested by struggles to keep urgent care centers open and likewise scale staffing to meet increasing customer demand. Team members struggled with their own illnesses, family members’ illness, exhaustion from the workload, and contending with the personal unhappiness of customers who are frustrated and fearful.

Equally as challenging was, maintaining an adequate inventory of personal protective equipment and COVID testing kits. Not to be underestimated, is the continual communication and training challenges to center team members with the ever-changing protocols and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As an established leader, give advice to budding healthcare professionals aspiring to venture into the healthcare industry.

I believe succeeding in retail and consumer-based healthcare necessitates being anchored with genuine compassion and desire to deliver an exceptional customer experienc to every patient.

Customers want connectivity in everything they do; urgent care being no exception. Offering patients, the opportunity to go online and reserve a visit time, similar to a restaurant reservation, is important.

Urgent Team customers, in addition to just walking in, can schedule a specific time rather than be in a reception room. Further, patients have access to a ‘portal’ where they can log into and view their lab results and other important health information without having to connect on the telephone.

Customers also receive electronic surveys to provide feedback to our teams on their experience and often share online reviews and star ratings for other potential customers.

Where we have joint ventures with local health systems, providers have the ability to review care history via access to shared medical records of customers, ensuring more integrated and comprehensive care. Also, assisting patients with the referral process for their care pathway is essential to quality patient care.

How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offering in the future?

We aim to complete 2022 with 80 centers. We believe UTm is a platform company with the talent, systems, capital, processes, and infrastructure to be one of the largest urgent care companies in America. But regardless of size, we are and will continue to be a recognized leader in quality, services, care pathways, and strategy.

The future of healthcare will remain focused on simplicity for the patient. To accomplish this, integrating with other providers, most importantly health systems, is essential. This involves making the traverse across healthcare services easier, more integrated, efficient, and cost-effective. People want value in their healthcare in the same way as other daily purchasing decisions.

Continuing joint ventures with leading healthcare systems is important to this objective. The company has the infrastructure to continue to add circa 15 centers each year. We also are pursuing more direct contracting with municipalities and self-insured employers who desire increased convenience for their employees and better control of healthcare costs.

Share the awards and recognitions your organization has received so far since its inception.

The company has not pursued, nor is focused, on corporate recognitions or awards. What is important to the company is acknowledgement from each of our local communities and most importantly, our customers, their satisfaction with our care.

To that end, many of our centers, year after year, received local commendation and recognition as the outstanding urgent care center in the market.