WebPT Blog - practice management
Jan 8, 2013| by Charlotte Bohnett
You—or your front office staff—may be incredibly organized, but that doesn’t mean your patients share your appreciation for schedules. While therapists define “cancellation” many different ways, there’s no gray area with no-shows. If a patient fails to appear for a scheduled appointment and fails to notify you, it’s a no-show. And these are all-around detrimental to your practice—your business is affected in terms of both time and money; you don’t get to do the job you love; and your patients don’t get the help they need. As Levi Bauer explains in a post on the HDM Corp. Blog, “the median salary for a physical therapist is around $75,000, which equates to around $36 per hour. If there are ten no shows per week, that equates to $360 per week, $1,440 per month, and $17,280 per year. This is no small issue.”
So, how do we reduce them? Here are four tips for decreasing patient no-shows:
In a Practitioner's Journey article entitled “How to Reduce Cancellations, Reschedules and No-Shows: Our Strategy,” the first suggestion they offer is to make a reminder call: “Appointment cards are helpful, but in the end, a phone call is your best bet.” How much of a best bet? An article on American Medical News explains that patients are significantly more likely to keep an appointment when they receive a phone call reminder, according to a study from the June American Journal of Medicine. Now, in a perfect world, you and your entire staff would have the time to personally call every one of your patients and remind them about their appointments. However, the same study explains that busy practices “frequently have a hard time fitting in these calls, which means that sometimes they don't happen at all.” Furthermore, the same study questioned the cost-effectiveness of personal phone calls.
What’s the compromise? Automatic text, email, and call reminders. There are countless case studies from companies like Walgreens, Hilton, McDonalds, and even Guinness on how phone and text message reminders save thousands of labor hours, increases revenue drastically, and decreases patient no-shows—all in addition to saving you time and guaranteeing the reminders get made. And depending on which service you chose, they’re easy to use and fairly customizable. With WebPT’s Automated Appointment Reminders, for example, you simply select the method and interval best suited for each patient when you schedule his or her next appointment.appointment reminders, decrease no-shows, emr, enhanced scheduler, practice management, PT best practices, Reporting
Apr 11, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
This post was authored by WebPT Billing Specialist, Geoff Elledge. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Geoff!
There are many different ways to look at your clinic’s finances. You can look at average revenue per patient visit, insurance payer mix, average referrals from physicians and on and on.
Let’s start with a few of the basic questions you should ask:
- much does it cost you to treat an average patient?
- How much does the insurance pay you per visit?
- What is your average patient cost share per visit?
- How long does it take on average to collect?
These are some of the basic questions you have to ask before you can start to maximize your revenues versus expenses.
First of all, take a good hard look at your fixed costs and figure out how much it costs you just to see a patient. It’s boring, but if you want to run a successful business, there’s no better place to start. I know we are in the business of caring for our patients first, but it is still a business, after all!
Start by calculating your average fixed costs such as rent, utilities, equipment costs/depreciation. Then take a look at payroll, salaries, benefits, etc. Add them up on a monthly basis then divide them by the total number of hours your office is open on a monthly basis, say 160 hours per month. The resulting number is your average hourly costs of operation. If you spend 30 minutes per patient on average divide by two and you have your per patient cost per visit. Confused yet? That is just the beginning.EMR practice management, increasing revenue, Physical Therapy Clinic, practice management, revenue per patient visit
Mar 22, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Our contributing blogger today is WebPT Member, Jack Sparacio, MSPT, COMT, CFMT. He is also the Owner and President of Sparacio Physical Therapy P.C. in New York. We're excited to have Jack sharing his expertise. Thanks Jack!
I know what you’re thinking. There is no way you can open an outpatient private practice for less than $8,000. But the truth is, you can. There are plenty of articles out there that will tell you that opening a private practice requires tens of thousands of dollars and a team of accountants, lawyers and consultants. While that might be the case for some people, it does not have to be the case for you. All it takes is a little creativity and being a cheapskate. Let’s call it being “creatively efficient” (cheap). Of course, you will need patients. We will discuss getting patients later.
Let’s first take a look at what I mean by being creatively efficient. Buying equipment for your office does not need to break the bank. And with the Internet, you can quickly compare prices to save significant amounts of money. Why spend $3,500 on a high-end Ultrasound-Electric Stimulation Combo Machine when you can buy separate portable ultrasound and electrical stimulation units for about $100 each? You will have a lot of choices to make. Just make the more efficient choice. You can buy a $3,000 automatic high-low treatment table or an economical wooden table (with an adjustable backrest) and a step stool for under $500. Or, watch for other clinics going out of business and you may be able to snag a high-low table at a discount. You can buy electrodes for $10 per pack or for $2.00 per pack (which I just did recently). You can buy massage cream for $28 a jar, or for $14 a jar. You get my point. Just do a little bit of research and you can save more than 50% on most items. Use your referral and peer resources and networking to find good deals. Most patients don’t care about fancy bells and whistles. They just want to get better.
Furthermore, there is a very practical method to designing your office. Do you need to buy bulky and expensive exercise machines or can you accomplish the same goals with smaller less expensive materials? A great idea is to utilize different length ballet bars attached to various positions (top, bottom and middle) on a wall. You can then attach various sport-cords and resistance bands for patients to perform hundreds of exercises. Also, keep in mind that when designing an exercise program for a patient, they are not going to have access to that expensive exercise equipment at home. Giving them exercises in your office utilizing sport-cords and resistance bands are reproducible and practical. Moreover, not having all those large exercise machines will enable you to utilize your space more efficiently. Do you need to rent the 3,000 square foot office and pay rent for space you are hoping to grow into? Or can you get your practice up and running in the 800 to 1,000 square foot office for one-third the rent? Growing out of your office is a better problem to have than paying for space you are not utilizing. Subleasing space from other health professionals or health clubs can also be an affordable alternative.
When it comes to marketing and acquiring patients there are only a few things you will need. You will need business cards and letterhead. At this time, you do not need to spend money on any other marketing materials. You don’t need brochures, “Welcome to the Practice” folders, newsletters or even a website. There is no magic marketing widget that is going to have your phone ringing off the wall with new patients. The most important thing you need is time. You need to take the time to go out and establish relationships in the local community. Yes, I know your time is valuable, but there is nothing that can take the place of a strong personal relationship with a local referral source (Physician, Physician’s Assistant, Personal Trainer, etc.). And the good news is you don’t have to lay out any money for your time.
As far as practice management goes, there are methods available to get your practice up and running in a very affordable manner. Outsourcing your billing to a medical billing company can be one such method. A billing company will take anywhere from 5%-12% of the money they collect from you. However, you will not need to lay out all the money that is associated with billing for your services. For example, you don’t need to purchase a billing software program or hire and train a staff person to manage your offices billing. In the early stages of developing a new business, most of your time should be dedicated to providing exceptional care and acquiring new patients. Without patients, your business will have a challenging time being profitable.entrepreneur, how to start a pt clinic, Jack Sparacio, physical therapists, practice management, start a clinic
Oct 19, 2011| by Lindsay Bayuk
Today's post is brought to us by Matt Wolach, the Director of Sales for WebPT. Thanks for contributing Matt!
Most are aware of Southwest Airlines’ legendary ability to stay solvent in a fierce industry. Especially remarkable is the company’s ability to stay in business when so many airlines were filing bankruptcies. But few know the secret.
Sure the company’s commitment to customer service and funny flight attendants and pilots are renowned. It doesn’t hurt that Southwest doesn’t turn away customers by charging for extras like checked bags or window seats. All of this helps.
But the reason Southwest continues to thrive, even when charging the consumer less, is that they clearly understand their core business. They are in the business of flying. ‘Well of course,’ you say. Ok, so let’s put it another way.
Southwest knows they only make money when their planes are in the air.
Southwest does not make money when the planes are on the ground. Thus, they do everything they can to shorten the time on the ground as much as possible. This is what’s called a “turn time.’
Sep 29, 2011| by Mike Mannheimer
We understand that Physical Therapy clinics can get hectic at times and trying to stay on top of alerts and notifications can be difficult. WebPT understands this and has created a number of real time alerts that are displayed under the “At a Glace” section on the dashboard.
You may see these notifications every day, but do you really know what they mean? Below is a summary of each notification you may see on your dashboard. Notifications are specific to administrative, patient and documentation related information.
- Incomplete Patient Records - Displays those patients with missing demographic information, such as an address or phone number.
- Incomplete Insurance Records - Similar to Incomplete Patient Records, this displays Insurance records with missing demographic information.
- Incomplete Physician Records - Also similar to the above, this alert displays referring Physicians with missing demographic information.
- Fax Alerts - Displays the number of failed faxes in your clinic. Clicking Fax Alerts will bring you to the Fax Log Report.
- Ending Authorizations - This is a report that lists those patients with Authorizations that are coming to an end.
- Expired Authorizations - Similar to Ending Authorizations, this report lists those patients with Authorizations that have expired.
- Needs New Authorization - This report lists those patients that need a new Authorization because they’ve exceeded the number of authorized visits.
- Needs Progress Note - This alert displays those patients where Progress Notes are needed. The system default is set to 10 visits or 30 days.
- Incomplete Documents - This report lists those patients with documentation that was started but was saved as a draft and never finalized.
- Incomplete Co-Sign Docs - Alerts you that a PTA has forwarded documentation to you that needs co-signing.
The “At a Glance” section is continuously updating to give you the most up to date information for our members. WebPT’s goal is to help improve the efficiency of Physical Therapy clinics by providing information that is specific and useful. If you have any suggestions about our “At a Glance” section, we’d love to hear them. Please leave your ideas below!
Jan 23, 2011| by Heidi Jannenga PT
Our clinical environment is changing with the advancements in technology. The iPad can be a useful tool to bridge the internet gap by making software tools and information available at the point of service with your patients for education and specific clinic tasks.
Staying with our theme this month of use of the iPad in the PT clinical setting, here are my favorite iPad apps that are available for Physical Therapists.
To explore iPad apps, simply to the App Store in iTunes on your Windows or Mac computer, then choose “App Store” at the top of your screen in the navigation bar. Once you are into the App Store, you will see that there are quite a few “Medical” apps available, and with a quick search, apps that are specific for PTs. Most are not free in this category, but all have reviews and descriptions that you can browse through before buying. We will also be reviewing some of these Apps in our free webinar on "The iPad for PTs" next week on either Thursday January 27 11am EST or Saturday January 29 12pm EST.
There are 3 main types of iPad apps for PTs:
- Patient education
- Staff/student education/reference
- Actual clinical tools
Here are my top 10 iPad apps by topic: