Mar 28, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Today's post is brought to us by Tim Beury, Operations Manager with Medical Resource Association. Thanks for sharing this information Tim!
If you are a physical or occupational therapist in the United States that has been in private practice the you have surely experienced the anxiety filled hour (or two!) of working out a good plan of action to effectively increase your referrals. You are undoubtedly familiar with the work it takes to be viewed in your community as a cut above the rest or at least above your competition around the corner. If you have not experienced this phenomenon then I urge you to stop reading and pick up the phone to call me and immediately let me in on your secret!
For all of the rest of us who do experience a certain level of this "anxiety" or "stress" from trying to pay the bills month to month, I have a recomendation for you. We know that therapists are constantly reaching and striving for the ultimate in patient care and perfection at their clinics without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. May I suggest introducing Durable Medical Supplies into your practice?
Mar 26, 2012| Mike Mannheimer
Documenting patient exercises has always been somewhat of a mess. We all know the scene; PTs and PTAs following patients around with a clipboard in hand. If your clinic uses EMR, you are probably used to taking that paper flowsheet, trying to decipher it, and inputting the data into the system. We know this process can be frustrating and cumbersome, so we set out to make paper flowsheets a thing of the past.
One of the biggest improvements we made to our digital flowsheet impacts screen real estate. Our members wanted control over what was visible on the screen and what was not. A majority of the areas on the flowsheet can be collapsed, reorganized, or removed entirely. For instance, therapists who don’t need the SPO2, HR, and RR fields to appear on the Flowsheet can remove them entirely. We know this new functionality will give you more of the information you need and less of what you don't need.
The flowsheet also accommodates clinics that have multiple treatment environments in their facility with the ability to add multiple locations. For instance, if your clinic has a gym and an aquatic center, you can now separate your flowsheet exercises based on location. This is just one more piece in our quest to make a more user friendly flowsheet.
The new WebPT Flowsheet makes it even easier to work with multiple patients at once. We have reinvented tabbed browsing and added new navigation so you can tackle a large group of patients at once. We also made the new digital flowsheet more tablet friendly. On tablets, you will enjoy larger buttons and navigation on the top and bottom of the flowsheet.
For current WebPT Members, take a look in the News and Updates area of WebPT and download our Flowsheet User Guide.
Let us know what you think of the new and improved Flowsheet in the comments below!
Mar 26, 2012| Mike Mannheimer
When I was a physical therapy student, I always knew that one day I would open up my own private practice. My initial perceptions were only about the money, deliriously thinking that in private practice I’d make big bucks while at the same time doing what I love practicing physical therapy. Selfish, I know. Well I’ve grown much wiser since then. I’ve learned that such a reality, while not entirely impossible, is not the way I’d want to live my life. The focus on only monetary values leads to pretty unsightly results.
High volume. Decreased time spent with patients. Belittling reimbursements and contracts. Heavy overhead for billing and associated staff. Bloated operations.
Sad that as a recent graduate I’m already disgusted with how private practices have to operate.
As a recent graduate with an entrepreneurial spirit, I’m presented with two choices. I could settle to operate in the status quo, where I could still possibly be successful or innovate to practice in a better business model, with returns that benefit more than the business itself. I recently completed a project to create a business plan, which was an excellent lesson in seeing how all the numbers worked out. I designed the plan exploring the idea of a solely cash-based practice, along with other progressive concepts. Although I was navigating through unknowns, considering the currently flawed reality as the alternative, I’ll optimistically work in the uncertainty. The cash-only model would eliminate insurances’ associated heavy overhead of staffing and operations. One progressive concept is the idea that business must now play a vital role in increasing the wealth of the human experience in the community, instead of the monetary wealth of the business itself. My business plan sought out to increase the wealth of the community’s health and health knowledge.
Now I’m still learning and exploring how innovations in technology and business can apply to building a new physical therapy practice. My to-read list of books seems to constantly grow. The same applies to reading the blogs that I follow. I’ll keep reading and increasing my knowledge base, but I do know that I’ll eventually need to put it all into practice. From my readings, I highly suggest Umair Haque’s publication Betterness:Economics for Humans. Consider this a primer about the role of business for the future. This book has motivated me to further my personal/professional development and helped shape my vision of my own private practice for tomorrow’s economy.
So what’s my main motivator now? Definitely not the money. Instead I want to go into private practice for one thing - to practice physical therapy, educating my patients and the community, to improve their health. How would I want to practice? Smart and sustainable, utilizing technology to better the patient experience. This is the private practice in the future that I strive to open and grow.
Today's post is contributed by Ryan Balmes DPT. Ryan Balmes graduated in May 2011, currently working as an orthopedic resident at LSU-Shreveport. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanBalmesPT and read his blog at http://ryanbalmespt.com.
Mar 26, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Today’s post was contributed by our WebPT Support Team Lead, Alex Zarazua. Thanks Alex!
This morning we are happy to announce that WebPT has launched a number of new enhanced features and support tools. For this latest release we received suggestions and feature requests from hundreds of our members. We’re very excited to share our updates with all of you!
Today we are introducing our newly designed Digital Flowsheet. The new Flowsheet has been refreshed to include multiple locations, an easier way to work with multiple patients, faster exercise searching and integration with our Home Exercise Program. In addition, the new and improved flowsheet has been designed with a tablet friendly user interface.
Our Member Support team is excited to announce a new tool that gives members even more access to technical resources. Powered by Zendesk, our new support tool gives our members exclusive access to articles, videos and user guides. Members will also have the ability to create new support tickets and view solved tickets as well. Members can access support by clicking “Help” on the bottom right of the WebPT application.
Other updates include clinical and documentation enhancements, billing additions, new Home Exercise Program videos and pictures, and overall system enhancements. Members have access to a detailed list of improvements by viewing “Discover Ideas in Action” under the Community Icon in the WebPT application.
If you have more ideas on how we can make WebPT better we want to hear them. Email them to email@example.com, submit a ticket by clicking “help” in the application or visit our Ideas Portal!
Mar 22, 2012| 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
Mar 20, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Our blog post today was written by WebPT member, Dr. Sam Esterson, PT, MA, MBA, DScPT. He is the owner of Esterson and Associates Physical Therapy. He is also the author of a well-received book written in 2003, entitled Starting & Managing Your Own Physical Therapy Practice: A Guide for the Rookie Entrepreneur. Dr. Esterson will be a featured guest on this month's webinar. Learn more here. Thanks to Sam for his wise words.
Those forward thinking and self-motivated therapists who possess a powerful drive to grow, are goal-directed, and have low blood pressure are ones who may be the best candidates to jump in, full throttle, and consider opening up a practice “on their own.” Sure, there’s much to consider and plan, but, if you are a therapist working in an environment where you are constantly thinking, “Gee, I sure could do this better, easier, more creatively, and/or more cost-effectively,” then, you may have “the itch.” The people who generally have this spirit are called “entrepreneurs.” An entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of an enterprise. The term comes from the French, entreprendre, meaning, to undertake. Entrepreneurs demand as much of themselves as they do of others. They have a passion for their dreams and do not easily take “no” for an answer. Entrepreneurs see opportunity when others see potential failure. They see the proverbial glass half-full while others perceive the glass half-empty.
There are some therapists who may think that by opening their own practice, they will become their own boss and not have to take orders from others ever again. This concept cannot be further from the truth. In fact, once you open your own business, you will have many bosses, including the referring practitioners who have clinical demands on you, insurance companies who direct your care by virtue of how they reimburse you for services rendered, patients who have a knack for manipulating your time and efforts, and even your staff who place constraints on you in many ways.Dr. Sam Esterson, how to start a pt clinic, start your own clinic, Starting and Managing Your Own Physical Therapy Practice
Mar 15, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Today we are pleased to present Part II of our interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be?
When I got out of school, I think I had quite a bit of ego. Everything was driven by what I wanted. If I had learned about other people’s wants and needs, I would have had an easier time. I needed to listen and not talk. The more you listen the more action you get. That was a big lesson, learning to let go and not make it about me. Also in the beginning, I don’t think I had a clear purpose of why I started. I started because I wanted to make money. That was a bad reason. You’re not going to make it. Making money is the benefit of doing quality work, having empathy towards patients and great communication. We go into business to make money, however, making money alone is the least long-term motivator that exists.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
Personally, I have the freedom to control my own life. My family. My work. My faith life. That balance and control is great. I’ve been able to watch great therapists succeed. To be able to watch them take care oftheir families while helping people out, that’s rewarding. Part of my mission is to help young therapists take off in their own lives.chad novasic, entrepreneur, how to start a pt clinic, mission, physical therapy, start a clinic, vision
Mar 13, 2012
In February, WebPT’s senior management team attended HIMSS‘12, a five-day conference designed to engage consumers with digital healthcare.
Below, Jeremy, Heidi, and Paul share with you their experiences attending seminars and educational sessions. Continued education on the most current trends in digital healthcare will serve to enhance WebPT’s features and keep our members at the forefront of physical therapy technology.
Jeremy, Senior Software Engineer, on Data Security
Data breaches rank the highest in the healthcare industry. The most reoccurring type of breach can be attributed to paper records, at 26 percent, while electronic medical record systems account for only 2 percent (based on reported breaches from Sept. 2009 to Dec. 2011).
The highest cause of breach is due to theft. Theft is classified by stolen desktops, laptops/portable devices, and paper records. When security breaches happen, a patient’s protected health information is at risk. Think about the patient chart. It contains insurance information, demographics and usually a copy of their signature. If stolen, all the listed information could easily result in identity theft.
Mar 13, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Today’s post covers a topic that has been on my mind a lot inthe past month. Turf wars. Ugh, I just gave a little shudder eventhinking about it!
The turf wars I’m referring to are the escalating interactions involving bickering among healthcare providers. Anyone who is active in social media knows what I’m talking about. In the age of the Internet, everyone is an expert, everyone has an opinion, and most people are bravely ready to let the world know just how smart they are (and how stupid everyone else is). Turf wars are not a new phenomenon. I have been in this field for 20 years now, and even in 1992 when I started my first job as an ATC, there were turf wars in the clinic. Even then, everyone was fighting for their piece of the pie.
The difference is that back in 1992, when you had an opinion, the only folks who had to hear about it were your friends and family. Maybe if you were really passionate about something, you would write a letter to the editor of a publication and wait a month to see it in print (I have a vivid memory of writing a letter to an editor in 1994 on the very topic of turf wars!)
Today, if you disagree with something, you can fire off your opinion in the comments section of a blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on all three simultaneously! Statements made in the heat of the moment, often without full understanding of what is being said, are posted for the world to see. Forever. If you made a nasty comment in the heat of the moment, you have to live with it floating around the web for the rest of your career.
Mar 12, 2012| Lindsay Bayuk
Today we are pleased to present an interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I graduated from Marquette in 1988 and started in private practice in 1989. I started out in Racine,Wisconsin. Later, in 2000, I restructured and started expanding my practice. My mission has always been about helping PTs have autonomy. I looked at the model as helping independent PTs go into business on their own. I now have 15 locations with plans to add 2 more locations in the near future. I’m very proud to say that we have some of the best therapists around working for us.
What is a little known fact about you?
I’m a third generation, male, physical therapist in private practice. It’s in my blood. Something interesting?
I get asked for advice on starting clinics all the time. Recently, I’ve been working with a young physical therapist from Cairo, Egypt. She was trying to start a practice at the same time Mubarak was getting overthrown. In order to get the proper licensing, she had to work 6 months at Cairo hospital. During that time, she was literally patching up bullet wounds. And she still wanted to open a clinic! Think of what she went through! We also had to work on how to even get equipment in Cairo. How does one get a license? During all this, she had a one year old baby. Her husband has to stay at home making sure no one is raiding their house. It’s fascinating! Her drive is incredible.