Physical Therapy Blog
PT blog with with up to date information on how to make the most of your PT management system. Shared comments from PTs are also available on our blog.
PT blog with with up to date information on how to make the most of your PT management system. Shared comments from PTs are also available on our blog.
As a small business owner, it can seem like an uphill battle simply trying to keep everything straight—and with increasing caseloads, regulations, and legislation, you certainly have your hands full. That’s why we here at the WebPT blog have been busy compiling all sorts of useful, actionable information for you—think of us as a much-needed third hand. Today, your third hand is going to tackle the Affordable Care Act.
One year ago (June 2012) the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), and opinions today are still mixed. According to a May 2013 Gallup survey, about half of small business owners believe the act will be “bad for business.” And according to an article on Inc. detailing the survey, some owners are going so far as holding off on hiring and scaling back employee hours in preparation.
However, the Obama administration and supporters believe the act will raise the standards for healthcare in the US as well as benefit small businesses. In fact, for the past several years President Obama has “come out swinging” in support of the Affordable Care Act, going so far as accusing political adversaries of propagating misinformation. In a White House event last month, the President expanded his stance on universal health coverage to include a moral argument:
“The United States of America does not sentence its people to suffering just because they don’t make enough to buy insurance on the private market, just because their work doesn’t provide health insurance, just because they fall sick or suffer an accident. That could happen to anybody. And regular access to a doctor, or medicine, or preventive care—that’s not some earned privilege; it is a right.”
Your mother always told you not to judge a book by its cover, but in the world of small business, first impressions are crucial. Regardless of the type of practice you own, a patient’s opinion of your business begins the moment he or she walks through the front door. The more welcoming the space, the better your chances of building a positive client experience right from the get-go. Here are five tips for creating an inviting reception area in your small business:
1. Offer a friendly greeting to each customer. One of the simplest ways to make people feel welcome is to verbally acknowledge them as they arrive. As this Smart Company article suggests, the front office staff member in charge of receiving clients should be a bit of a social butterfly with a naturally outgoing, friendly, and helpful personality.
2. Keep your entryway clean and clutter-free. Visible grime is a universal customer turn-off — it suggests that you and your staff are lazy, disorganized, and inattentive to detail. There should be an, obvious path to your “landing area”—be it a front desk, a podium, or a main product display. Even if you’ve set up shop in an older building, you can create a feeling of freshness with new paint, flooring, furniture, and light fixtures. If you put up signs, make sure the wording is clear and positive (“We’re happy to help you when you’re finished with your phone call” instead of “No cell phones at front desk”).
3. Provide appropriate lighting. There are a lot of lighting options out there, and the light sources you choose to incorporate in your clinic largely depend on what kind of mood you’re after. Soft, bright light gives people a sense of calm and increases the appeal of items on display. Low, warm light emits a “homey” quality and can add to the atmosphere and charm of your practice if you’re going for more of a family vibe. However, lighting that looks and feels artificial—think fluorescent bulbs—often comes off as harsh, cold, and industrial, and generally does not work well in a reception setting.
4. Incorporate memorable details. Lots of reception areas have water coolers; set your business apart by offering something fun and different—a carafe of fruit-infused water, for example. Follow the advice of this Optometric Management piece and establish a few points of visual interest—fresh flowers, a well-maintained fish aquarium, or a tasteful piece of art. If you provide reading material in your waiting area, consider the interests of your clientele. Do you run a sports rehab center? If so, your clients are probably more interested in Sports Illustrated than Architectural Digest.
While rehab therapists continue to make gains in autonomy and direct access, we cannot forget about referrals. Often, referrals serve as the lifeblood of therapy practices, and the best way to ensure referrals—besides providing exceptional care—is to maintain strong relationships with physicians. With that in mind, here are five tips for improving the therapist-physician relationship to garner more referrals.
1.) Simplify the referral process. It’ll save them time and earn you respect. Here are some tips:
You’ve got all your business plan ducks in a row—you’ve analyzed your staffing needs, nailed down your financing options, and set your business goals—and your partners are on board. Now, it’s time to put pen to paper. Well, hopefully fingers to a keyboard because even though most business plans have gotten much shorter than they used to be, they’re still pretty detailed documents. However, as Palo Alto Software President Tim Berry points out, “don’t confuse your business plan with a doctoral thesis.” He suggests you “rein in your prose” by using:
Simple and to-the-point sentences
Clear, easy-to-understand language (i.e., no jargon, buzzwords, or acronyms)
Bullet points for easy scanning
In addition to keeping text simple, Berry also recommends you do the same with numbers by using business charts. Just be sure to place your source numbers near each chart, reference each chart within the text, and include:
Whether you’re in the process of starting your own business or you’ve been in business for years now but just never got around to writing your business plan, this blog is for you. Here, I've compiled some great information to help you put together this ultra important document. Let’s start with the basics:
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a formal document detailing everything about your business. Venture coach Stever Robbins writes in an article on Entrepreneur.com that a business plan includes “your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan, and staffing plan.” He also goes on to point out that your business plan drives the future because it contains goals for all major areas (sales, expenses, hiring, and financing). “Once laid out,” he writes, “the targets become performance goals.” As such, your business plan will act as a baseline for monitoring your progress so you remain accountable as well as a tool for “after-the-fact learning” if you perform better or worse than expected.
Who needs a business plan?
In short, anyone who is running a business should have a business plan—especially when working with investors, partners, or employees. According to another article on Entrepreneur.com, “...anybody beginning or extending a venture that will consume significant resources [money, energy, or time]...and that is expected to return a profit, should take the time to draft some kind of plan.” The article goes on to discuss the times when it would be appropriate—and beneficial—to update an existing plan (for example, if you’ve reached a milestone, brought on a new partner, or are about to enter a new financial period). In other words, an out-of-date business plan won’t do you any good, so be sure to set reminders that trigger you to review it in intervals appropriate to your business.
Registration for Evolve 2013: Chicago is almost over. Don’t miss out. This isn’t your typical conference. It’s all about rehab therapists, and it’s free. Connect with peers, hear from industry experts, and exchange best practices. Isn’t it time to evolve your clinic?
WebPT Evolve 2013 • June 20 • Chicago
In this conference, you’ll learn how to:
Plus, you’ll discover the evolution of WebPT with owners Heidi and Brad Jannenga as well as meet and mingle with community members over drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Want some more deets? Here’s the presentation schedule:
12:45 PM: Registration Begins
1:00 PM: The Evolution of WebPT with Co-Founders Heidi and Brad Jannenga
1:30 PM: The Therapist’s Guide to Social Media with social media and blogging experts Charlotte Bohnett and Mark Kats
3:00 PM: 2013 Medicare G-Codes: Functional Limitation Reporting with compliance expert Rick Gawenda, Gawenda Seminars
5:00 PM: Break
5:15 pm: Constantly Evolving. It's What We Do. Brad and Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founders, and Paul Winandy, Chief Executive Officer, explain what drives them to achieve greatness every day. Here, you'll have the opportunity to participate in an open discussion about WebPT—past, present, and future.
6:15 PM: Drinks and hors d'oeuvres
Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our new Staff Spotlight blog series.
She’s sweet, soft-spoken, and has a smile that could light up an entire dance hall—but never in a million years would you guess that Courtney Lefferts was once a Vegas showgirl.
Courtney dedicated most of her childhood to training in dance—she began taking ballet lessons at age three—in hopes of one day dancing professionally. With the bright lights of Las Vegas only about 30 minutes away from her hometown of Boulder City, Nevada, Courtney didn’t have to go far to follow her dreams. Not long after high school graduation, she auditioned for Jubilee! at Bally’s—billed as the last classic revue in Vegas with all of the requisite feathers and rhinestones—and two hours later, she was offered a spot in the show.
For a small-town girl who graduated in a class of 90—half of whom she attended kindergarten with—the transition to the big city was a bit overwhelming. But, she says, life on the Vegas show circuit isn’t what most people imagine it to be. “There’s a lot of experience, a lot of talent,” she said. “It’s really not what you think.”
During her year-long stint at Bally’s, Courtney and the rest of the 60-plus member ensemble performed two shows a night, six days a week—all while wearing four-inch heels and 30 to 40 pounds of costume. “We did 1,000 stairs a night just in costume changes—that doesn’t even count the on-stage stairs,” she said. “It was really, really hard. People don’t realize how difficult it is.”
The physical demands of the show took their toll; a back injury forced Courtney to give up the dancing gig she had worked so hard—and so long—to attain. That, she says, was one of the lowest points in her life. “It was really hard going from dancing six days a week, pretty much since I could walk, to not being able to get out of bed,” she said. “But that’s life, and I had to deal with it. I had to readjust. It wasn’t easy, but in a way, it was kind of exciting to think that there were other things out there besides ballet.”
She began attending the College of Southern Nevada and teaching ballet classes, but she just couldn’t shake the itch to branch out and try something really different. So, she picked up and moved to Flagstaff, where she had attended cello camp as a kid. She planned to enroll in college there once she established residency, but her plans were yet again derailed by a surprise—a good one this time.
“I saw (my now-husband) Brock play a show in Flagstaff, and he was awesome,” she said. “Then I saw him hug his grandma at the end, and that was it for me.” When she got home, she immediately sent Brock Lefferts a Facebook friend request, and he chatted her within a minute. The rest, as they say, is history. “The day he met me, he called his mom and told her he’d met the girl he was going to marry,” she said.
Matt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. He fights crime on the weekends when he’s not competing in canoe dancing. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic.
If you’re ready to start harnessing the power of email to market your clinic, you’ll need to figure out whether you’ll write the content yourself or ask someone else to do it for you. Either way, there’s a big difference between just sending a marketing email and sending a marketing email that works. And while there’s no silver bullet for creating the perfect email, here are a few items to consider before you hit the send button:
The Subject Line
This is the first thing an email recipient sees, which makes it arguably the most important part of your message. Entire blogs can be, have been, and will continue to be, completely devoted to perfecting the subject line only. But because this post isn’t solely about subject lines, I’ll just give you a couple of quick hitters:
Do: “Complimentary consultation at John Doe Therapy”
Don’t: “Get excited! The best rehab therapy in town can be yours for FREE!”
You’ve whipped your clinic into shape, beefed up your benefits package, gotten your head in the game, and asked the right questions. Now, you’ve got a rockstar team made up of some very top-tier talent. So how do you keep ‘em happy and committed to your clinic? Here are six ways to retain top talent:
Give your employees a purpose.
Gone are the days when all employees cared about was a paycheck. Today’s employees want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, that what they do on a daily basis matters in the world. This especially holds true for individuals who have chosen careers in rehab therapy. Chances are they didn’t get into this profession for the money; they did so to really give back, to help people live their lives to the fullest.
In a smartplanet.com article, author Heather Clancy writes, “It turns out that professionals that are in a position that they feel will make a better world or contribute to society are much more satisfied than their counterparts—by a 2:1 ratio.”
Make sure you’re emphasizing this throughout the day. Don’t make a therapist’s success a numbers game. Sure, you need to make money, and the more patients your therapists see the better, but focusing only on headcount diminishes the impact of your therapists’ work and turns their passion into just a job. And that can quickly lead to discontent—and a stack of resignation letters.
It’s no secret that physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are are in high demand. In fact, between 2010 and 2020, industry experts expect employment rates for physical therapists to increase by 39% (tweet this stat!)—that’s significantly higher than almost all other occupations. In other words, if you’re looking to hire the best in class from the next generation of rehab therapists, you’re bound to have some seriously steep competition. But that doesn’t mean you should just get in line and wait quietly until it’s your turn to recruit; it means you should start taking the necessary steps right now to ensure that your clinic is recruit-worthy and recruit-ready. Here are four steps to attracting top-tier therapy talent:
1. Whip Your Clinic into Shape
Start by taking a really critical—honest—look at the way your clinic is running. Is it streamlined and efficient or bloated and sluggish? Are you operating lean with a team of rockstars, or are you carrying some dead weight? Are your clinicians maximizing their time performing patient care, or is your team burdened by cumbersome administrative tasks—like paper charting and filing?
It’s okay if you see room for improvement because, well, there’s always room for improvement. And there’s no blame there. Look at this as the perfect opportunity to address these issues head-on—whether that means implementing educational programs to make sure your employees are performing at the highest level or adopting EMR so your staff is able to spend less time documenting, scheduling, and billing, and more time treating patients or attracting new business.
Regardless of which solution is best for your clinic, a thorough analysis of your processes and procedures will always lead you to ways you can boost your clinic’s productivity and organization. And the better your clinic runs, the more appealing you’ll be as a new employer.