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For those providers or team leaders who see “sicker, sooner” as a temporary trend, look to retail for a cautionary tale, says Clint Maun of Maun-Lemke Speaking and Consulting in Nebraska. “In Main Street America, there was the retailer that kept regular nine-to-five hours and was closed when people got off work. Then Wal-Mart comes in and cleans retailers’ clocks. The company instituted greeters; 24-hour shopping; and the ability to get groceries, medications, health care and beauty products, and other items in one place.” However, he says, Wal-Mart didn’t change checkout processes, and customers faced long lines.

Enter Amazon.com, he says. “It took 10 years, but Amazon eventually pushed Wal-Mart to step up its game, forcing the retail giant to start shipping, which—in turn—forced UPS and FedEx to deliver on Saturdays and Sundays and Amazon to buy its own planes and institute drones. All of this has changed retailing forever.”

This is not dissimilar to what is happening in long term care today, Maun says. “Hospitals—our customers—are pickier. They won’t take partners who won’t admit patients on nights and weekends, for example. And they expect expeditious service and top value. And the game continues to change.”