When Keyur Sathe, MHA, decided to put his nearly two decades of healthcare leadership and entrepreneurialism to work in a bold new venture—one that would, in his words, help “bend the arc of healthcare” toward greater value—he didn’t have to look far for inspiration. His wife is a pediatric gastroenterologist. Their young children are the loves of their lives. And there are only a handful of places in the U.S. to which stressed parents can turn when a child needs non-emergency medical care during nights, weekends and holidays.
NiteHawk Pediatric Urgent Care was born this past July with the opening of its flagship facility in the Dallas suburb of Wylie, Texas, with Sathe as president and CEO. That’s a role he filled the previous nine years with Trinity Surgical Worldwide, a developer and manager of ambulatory surgery centers. In the months leading up to the NiteHawk launch, he recruited Dallas pediatrics fixture Claude Prestidge, MD, to serve as chief medical officer and Emmett Moore, JD, CPA, a healthcare executive with 40+ years of clinical-business alignment under his belt, as chairman.
That professional firepower points to NiteHawk’s enterprising aims: Open five to seven facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex over the next few years, then take NiteHawk national—all with an uncompromising focus on quality, accessibility and affordability. This Sathe refers to as “the triangle.”
“We’re not just putting up a shingle and opening our doors,” Sathe told imagingBiz. “This is about finding the right corners of the right markets that are most in need for these services. We’re interested in moving into places where we can add the maximum amount of value for the largest number of patients and parents.”
NiteHawk’s in-depth market analysis, already underway in earnest for those five to seven Dallas-Fort Worth sites, involves carefully considering everything from demographics, socioeconomic metrics and population trends—literally asking “Where are the children?”—to technology assessment, parking, exterior lighting and street signage.
“We don’t want to be just a myopic urgent care center company,” Sathe says. “We view what we provide as an infrastructure-level service for the community and the surrounding communities. We are looking to add significant value by partnering with physicians, school districts and other community stakeholders.”
NiteHawk’s provider model calls for treating patients exclusively with board-certified or board eligible pediatricians, assisted by pediatric ER nurses and other staff trained in pediatrics. “This further distinguishes us from virtually every type of provider model in the urgent care space,” Sathe says. “Most tend to utilize midlevel providers, meaning nurse practitioners or physician assistants, for care delivery. Our providers are highly qualified physicians, and that is a very important distinction.”
The flagship site in Wylie has been seeing everything from colds and coughs to lumps and bumps to lacerations and dehydration, not to mention rashes, sprains, fractures, pneumonia and all manner of concerns that are urgent but not emergent. The pace started steady this summer and has picked up considerably since schools opened.
“We are not a referral business per se, in that the decision point for care is ultimately up to the parents,” Sathe says. “They can take their child to a children’s hospital ER, a general hospital ER, a freestanding ER, a non-pediatric-specific urgent care center. Or they can choose NiteHawk. We believe we make a compelling case as to why we are the right after-hours urgent care provider for their child.”
The case includes extending the emphases on value and service to how the facility is outfitted. There’s an onsite lab and state-of-the-art x-ray room. “The x-ray piece of our service line is a microcosm of, and in many ways a metaphor for, our business as a whole,” says Sathe. “For us, the technology we chose made all the sense in the world.”
The technology he refers to is Viztek’s Ultra Straight Arm DR with Pediatric Imaging Package. He says this selection was consistent with the team’s insistence on the best quality for children and value for their parents.
The Viztek system, which is dose-conscious in support of the ACR’s Image Gently program, is proving excellent at imaging not only for sprains, strains and fractures but also for gastrointestinal and breathing issues, says Sathe.
Parents have heightened awareness when it comes to the