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Founder Letter: How to Create an Award-Winning Practice Experience

We’re handing out some statues for the best solutions you can choose to create a practice experience worthy of a standing ovation.

We’re handing out some statues for the best solutions you can choose to create a practice experience worthy of a standing ovation.

Heidi Jannenga
5 min read
March 6, 2024
A trophy for rehab therapists creating the ideal practice experience.
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We’re right in the heart of awards season, and while the movie industry might be the center of attention for many over the next few days, I’d like to turn the focus to some unsung stars: rehab therapists! Many will say that we’re the Maestros of movement and that no one is more ready to deal with the Anatomy of a Fall than we are. Yet despite our expertise, we’re still left to pine for Past Lives with better financial security, as constant reimbursement rate cuts have turned many rehab therapy practices into Poor Things. Higher patient loads and more regulatory requirements have many of our peers feeling like a better future is an American Fiction. Still, among the challenges of staffing shortages, The Holdovers in our profession continue to work hard to provide amazing care to every patient who walks through the door.  

Ok, maybe I pushed it a little bit with some of those Best Picture puns, but I truly believe that when it comes to MSK patient care, we’re the P.T. Anderson of, well. PT. So how can we flip the script and bring blockbuster success to our practices? It's not much different than what movie directors and writers focus on. By creating a practice experience that’ll generate online buzz, bring out the best performance from your providers, and have patients excited for a sequel—er, second appointment. With that in mind, here are some of the software solutions that should be taking home the hardware in your award-winning practice.  

Best Original Impression

This is a very competitive category—after all, there are a lot of practices out there trying to grab the attention of the same audience. Luckily, you’ve got the inside track on this award, because you’ve made the most of your online profile. You’ve used a listings management tool to manage your online presence, making sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all your listings. It’s also helped you elevate your search engine optimization (SEO) scores so that the homepage of your website (and landing pages) are showing up at the top of search results, and manage your online reviews so that people see all the great feedback past patients have had for your practice.    

You also realized that grabbing their attention is only half the battle—to get them into your clinic, you need to make it easy to act on their interest. That’s why in the latest rewrite of your website, you decided to add online scheduling front and center on your home page. Given that the availability of online scheduling is important or very important to 61% of patients, you boosted your conversion rate, turned those visits into more appointments, and made yourself the front-runner for the first trophy of the night. 

The drumroll plays, the envelope opens, and…it’s you and your decision to choose to have all of these features in one platform! Break out your best “shocked” face, collect all the hugs and handshakes from well-wishers, and don’t forget to congratulate your fellow nominees (and thank your WebPT success representative.)     

Best Score

There’s nothing like sound to enhance an already exceptional experience—and in your case, it’s the sound of patients singing your praises. You don’t want to be overconfident this early, but you’re feeling like John Williams as this category gets introduced. You’ve used every instrument to enhance your work; with your marketing automation platform, you’ve built out a carefully composed campaign that hits the right notes to deliver perfectly-timed content to your patients They also receive regular text reminders before every appointment, and the right educational materials after each visit to help them in their home exercise program (HEP). Patients are also getting surveys throughout their treatment so that you can act on any feedback and encourage fulfilling the entire plan of care. And for the few that do drop out, you’re reaching out to re-engage and encourage them to return to maximize the value of your services. As a result, you’ve got a Net Promoter Score® (NPS) that’s the talk of the town.   

You close your eyes, take a deep breath, and center yourself, only to be brought back to the moment as your name is called out again. You hustle to the stage to grab the trophy, share some banter with Meryl (the best!), and walk off to indulge in some green room snacks. 

Best Writing

Documentation is far from glamorous, but without it, it’s impossible to tell the story of a patient’s recovery or get paid for service rendered. Some people might take this award presentation as an opportunity to get some fresh air or to freshen their drinks, but you remain glued to your seat in recognition of all the tools and talent required in a well-written note. More than that, there is an understanding of the strain that’s been put on providers for the past few years as documentation requirements have grown exponentially without added compensation. That strain is making it harder to provide the best care possible—one survey found that 88% of providers felt they could provide better patient care if documentation requirements were lessened.  

Those who have mastered the ability to capture the right amount of detail and meet compliance requirements are truly skilled and should be recognized for their willingness to learn how to work smarter, not harder. Now, you have an EMR that allows you to customize profiles for evals and create templates to save time, complete auto-scored outcome measurement tools, and stay current on payer rules and regulations, you have a good feeling about a third piece of hardware. 

Your providers are spending less time looking at their screens and more time face-to-face with patients, building the therapeutic alliance that drives better outcomes—and as we know, sparking an emotional reaction is going to outweigh technical brilliance. (Sorry, Christopher Nolan.)   

As you casually glance at your phone to avoid seeming overconfident, the camera pans to find you unaware of what’s happening as your name is called out once more. You gather your whole team to accompany you, one big, emotional mess swarming the stage as you try to make it through every acknowledgment before the music begins to play you off.  

Best Supporting Technology

Speaking of ensembles, no provider can do their best work without a fantastic ensemble cast. It’s time for some unsung heroes to get a little love, as we see a montage of the incredible work technology has played in a supporting role. We all know how much of a problem adherence and patient engagement can be, and how difficult it is to get a good understanding of how patients are recovering between appointments. So it was exciting to see remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) burst onto the scene two years ago, giving providers the tools they wanted to measure progress and connect with patients between visits. Along with its co-star, digital HEP, RTM is poised to be a star—and to improve patient outcomes—for the foreseeable future.   

Of course, a performance doesn’t need to be flashy to be valuable. Take telehealth—it’s had a long road to get here (Medicare didn’t want to reimburse rehab therapists for telehealth for years, and still doesn’t) but it’s been invaluable as a partner. Even as the pandemic recedes, patients are interested in continuing to use telehealth—maybe not as a primary mode of care, but as an adjunct to in-person visits and a way to follow-up between appointments. If that doesn’t scream supporting player, what does?   

As you look around the room, you spot another strong contender for the award: direct secure messaging. You shudder as you think back to the days of paper faxes and all the scanning, copying, and collating your front office did—not to mention all the paper and ink you had to buy. Now that you’ve added Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) to your cast, you’re automatically uploading all the records sent to you to your EMR, your referral process has gotten so much smoother, and your front office is a lot less overwhelmed with admin (and has a lot less paper cuts.)  It doesn’t hurt that, as primary care providers and other healthcare professionals start to prioritize DSM-enabled practices for referrals, you’re poised to take advantage. After all, Hollywood is all about getting invited to the right parties.   

Like Hollywood, you’re also leaning on the numbers to determine future success, so it’s no surprise to see data dashboards in this group. With practice intelligence, you have customizable dashboards to help you spot trends and glean insights on revenue, retention, and outcomes.  That knowledge allows you to improve your clinical operations and efficiency—something that not every practice can claim.  

Finally, there’s the new kid on the block: AI. You used to stay up at night worrying that AI would take your parts, but as you got familiar, you realized that it was made to help you, the lead performer, look good. It’s checking your work to make sure your documentation is compliant, and that you’re billing for the correct codes to help you get paid in full. It’s even giving you insights on clinical decision-making specific to your patient and practice-wide trends to help you improve efficiency and compliance. Honestly, you’re looking forward to what you two can accomplish in the future as AI continues to cut its teeth in the business.    

While you’re relieved to see your partners nominated here, it’s tough to guess the winner, with the obvious potential benefits for them all. The envelope opens to reveal…it’s a tie?!? Is this another Moonlight situation? As the winners all hesitantly make their way to the stage, a Hemsworth is deployed to find some additional trophies backstage. 

Best Production Design

Of course, the engine making all of this magic happen resides in the back office. Billing is a stalwart nominee, and they’ve shown up with a new look. (Did they get some work done?) For a start, they’re scrubbing claims automatically to get them out to payers faster, and they’ve brought in some better reporting that helps them keep track of A/R, outstanding claims, and denials, so their finances are in better shape than ever. And there was that story about how they’re collaborating with documentation and scheduling now, which means that their work is going to be even tighter and more efficient going forward—honestly, we can’t wait to see what they put out.     

Of course, revenue cycle management (RCM) teams are no slouches either—which is why some practices turn to them to handle everything billing would do so that they can focus on the other aspects of patient care. After all, most practices today are about as overworked as a typical big-budget Hollywood production—so it makes sense to do what our favorite studios do and outsource where you can.   

And the winner is…well, actually, you didn’t catch that part. With the evening winding down, you tracked down Giamatti to see if you could catch a ride to In-N-Out after the show. But both nominees have collected enough accolades over their time, so why split hairs over a trophy here and there? You give both a congratulatory slap on the back as the lights turn up and shuffle out to go get your Double-Double before changing into some sweatpants the second you get home. 

End Credits

That all might sound like something out of a Disney movie, but I’m here to tell you that your practice can achieve its own Hollywood ending—minus the celebrity encounters. With Practice Experience Management (PXM), we’ve created the script for a better care journey for both patients and providers.  We can’t just assume that patients who need PT will somehow find their way to our clinics, or will feel compelled to keep coming back simply because we said they should. We also can’t take for granted that our hard-working clinicians and staff are willing to put up with disjointed workflows and difficult documentation. It’s time to roll out the red carpet and premiere a new way of doing things—a cohesive storyline that will bring a new level of excitement and enjoyment for both you, your practice, and your patients. 

Want to be part of the story? Take our industry survey and share your experiences — you could win a $100 gift card or a free ticket to Ascend! 


KLAS award logo for 2024 Best-in-KLAS Outpatient Therapy/Rehab
Best in KLAS  2024
G2 rating official logo
Leader Spring 2024
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Most Loved Workplace 2023
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Most Loved 2024
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