In a world full of competition, it’s always good to know when someone has your back, which is why creating lasting relationships with providers and businesses in your community is an opportunity you don’t want to waste. But if you’re not sure where to start—or which businesses to turn to—it can feel a little overwhelming. To that end, we’ve compiled this list of unique partnership opportunities for physical therapy practices that’ll not only boost your referrals, but also help you promote the value of your services in your local market:
1. Other Healthcare Providers
When you think about mutually beneficial relationships, chances are physicians—and the referrals they bring you—spring to mind. After all, some of your top referral sources are likely physicians, which makes partnering with primary care doctors and hospitals a smart move. (The PTs at Athletico Physical Therapy know this well, citing the “additional access, flexibility and value” their physician partnerships offer.) But the benefits of partnering up with physicians don’t end with patient referrals. A local clinic or hospital partnership can serve many functions, including access to:
- lab services, and
- pharmacy services.
And physicians aren’t the only providers worth teaming up with. PT clinics may find it mutually beneficial to work with non-physician providers such as psychologists, chiropractors, and even other PTs. (In fact, partnering with other physical therapists may open the door for meaningful data sharing, which is instrumental to solving the PT brand problem). Just remember: no matter who you partner with, these relationships should be a two-way street. You can be just as much of a referral source for them as they are for you, and that’s a sure way to win their loyalty for life.
2. Community-Based Agencies and Organizations
PTs clinics can also expand their reach to more patients by partnering with public agencies (i.e., local government agencies) and community-based organizations (i.e., nonprofits). A practice that knocks this strategy out of the park is AAA Physical Therapy, which partners with nonprofit organizations such as Meals on Wheels as well as the local college radio station, where therapists provide on-air education about things like injury prevention and insurance benefits.
3. Private Businesses
Local businesses can also be great referral sources—and you can be an excellent source of new business for them, too. A few examples include:
- gyms and athletic clubs,
- yoga and Pilates studios, and
- athletic and sporting equipment stores.
The gym at Richfield Living is a perfect example of an independent business working hand-in-hand with a local PT practice. As mentioned on the organization’s website, Richfield Living has teamed up with Select Rehab to provide award-winning PT services to all residents. Another example is Progress Physical Therapy in Newtown, PA, which partnered with a local athletic club to open an onsite PT clinic that offers exclusive services to club members.
4. Educational Institutions
Schools and universities are prime candidates for partnerships. In addition to working with sports teams—like the providers at Novacare Physical Therapy do—you can use this as a teaching opportunity to educate students about the value of physical therapy. Volunteer your expertise by dropping in as a guest speaker for an anatomy and physiology class—or offer to lead physical education classes in stretches that promote injury prevention. There’s so much you can do in an educational setting that goes beyond working with student-athletes—and you might even inspire some future PTs in the process!
5. Sports Clubs and Associations
That said, if working with athletes is your main motivation, the opportunity isn’t limited to high school and college sports teams. Joining forces with local sports clubs creates a gold mine of referral opportunities—and it’s a great way to win patients for life. Select Physical Therapy in Colorado Springs, CO, experienced the benefit of this type of partnership firsthand. In 2020, the practice partnered with USA Triathlon to offer exclusive services to both amateur and professional members.
6. Local Employers
Finally, tapping local employers is an excellent way to develop long-lasting relationships within your community and improve overall population health. Alliance Physical Therapy has realized the benefits of such an endeavor. The team provides services such as injury management and prevention, wellness management, and ergonomics training to local industrial workers via their employers, which helps keep workers not only healthy, but also safe on the job. (If you’re interested in pursuing an employer-based PT program, check out this how-to blog post.)
So, there you have it: six potential partnership ideas for PT practices. Got any questions about establishing partnerships in your community? Let us know in the comment section below!