In the fast-paced world of physical therapy, it can be easy to lose yourself in the rigors of the job. After all, your goal is to provide the highest quality patient care whenever possible—and that’s no easy feat (even on a good day). While dedicating so much time, energy, and determination toward helping people achieve their rehabilitative goals is rewarding work, it’s difficult to take a step back and see the impact you’re truly making. Fortunately, we’re here to help!
So, whether you’re a newly minted PT or a seasoned professional, here are some subtle—and not-so-subtle—signs that you’re on the top of your game.
1. Your patient outcomes and satisfaction scores are stellar.
One of the most obvious indicators that you’re a kick-butt PT are excellent patient outcomes and satisfaction scores. Plus, these are fairly easy barometers of success to watch—that is, as long as you’re diligently tracking them.
The logic is simple: the more you prioritize and engage your patients, the more they will enjoy working with you, and thus, the more dedicated they will be to their care plans. So, if your patients are consistently hitting their marks, it’s likely due to two things:
- You’re great at what you do; and
- Your patients dig you.
Either way, kudos to you!
2. You receive word-of-mouth referrals.
While digital marketing plays are a terrific—and essential—way to drive patients to your clinic, nothing beats the feeling of a word-of-mouth referral. Why? Because that means someone thinks highly enough of you to recommend your services to people they care about (i.e., family members, friends, and colleagues). And if that isn’t a compliment, I’m not sure what is.
So, rather than chalking up a word-of-mouth referral as a “lucky break,” understand that it’s actually a direct reflection of your ability to:
- Provide a first-rate patient experience from start to finish;
- Prioritize patient loyalty; and
- Engage with your community.
To keep better track of these referrals—and therefore gain a clearer picture of your patient relationships—ask new patients how they heard of you. You can either add a quick line on your patient intake form or to your front office team’s script when they’re scheduling initial evaluations.
3. You get positive online reviews.
What better way to learn your patients are over the moon about you or your practice than through an online review? Not only do these virtual commendations serve as a public pat on the back, but they can also help boost your clinic’s online reputation. In fact, a 2020 survey from BrightLocal revealed that 91% of its study participants (aged 18 to 34) reported trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This tells us that favorable reviews bode well for business—and your self-esteem.
While it’s always flattering to receive unsolicited reviews, you can (and should) tap your most loyal patients—like those who are referring new patients to you—to submit some, as well. You’ll find most patients are willing to help if asked.
4. Your patients send you thank-you notes.
There’s nothing like a good, old fashioned thank-you note to put you in the feels. Considering handwritten sentiments are a rare delight in this digital age, a thank-you note is perhaps the most rewarding compliment you can receive as a provider—so treat these with a certain amount of reverence.
After all, if your patient goes through the effort to buy a card, jot a few heartfelt lines within it, stuff it in an addressed envelope, and run it over to the mailbox, it’s clear they think you’re a superior therapist—and a wonderful person, to boot!
5. Your patient churn rate is low.
Patient retention is a tough business in the PT field. According to WebPT’s data, 70% of all patients end up churning—and 20% actually drop out after their fourth visit. Talk about a conundrum! Fortunately, patient attrition is largely preventable as long as providers make an effort to engage with their patients throughout their entire care journey. Thus, patients who are more satisfied with their care are more likely to stick to their prescribed care plans—and realize their full outcomes potential.
If you need a little help in this area, do not despair! There are a plethora of patient relationship management (PRM) tools (like WebPT Reach) that can help you effectively track, measure, and identify opportunities to maximize patient satisfaction—and therefore, reduce churn.
6. Your patients are excited to see you.
Do your patients walk in with a smile on their face? Do they greet your staff with a cheery “hello?” Do they ask you how you’re doing—and genuinely mean it? Do they make a sincere effort to do their exercises to the best of their ability? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you likely have a happy patient on your hands.
The sunnier a patient’s disposition, the more likely they are satisfied with the care and attention they receive. And this, of course, starts with you.
7. You’re respected among your peers.
So far, I’ve talked a great deal about how patient satisfaction and happiness correlates to your capabilities as a therapist. But, how do you know if your colleagues think you’re up to snuff? It’s quite simple, actually: They respect you.
So, to determine if you’ve earned their respect, here are some things to look out for:
- They include you in the conversation.
- They see you as a problem-solver.
- They ask your opinion when decisions need to be made.
- They share information about their lives outside of work with you.
Keep in mind that the longer you’re in your role, the less likely you are to receive consistent praise—especially once your peers come to expect a certain level of performance from you. So, we thought it important to share some enduring signs that indicate you’re an absolute rock star. Now get out there and keep kicking some serious metaphorical tail!