When it comes to improving the value we bring to our clients, there’s no time like the present. These five trends will help our profession grow in 2015. These trends are in motion, but not etched in stone. To bring them to fruition in the OT world, we all have to make an effort.

Top of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Regular BannerTop of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Small Banner

1. Numbers

We need to focus on objectively demonstrating the effectiveness of our care—not only in the interest of increasing reimbursements, but also because it’s the right thing to do. How do we do this? We can start by simply asking for more numbers. Let researchers, the AOTA, and—for you students out there—your professors know that evidence is important to you. For practicing OTs, ensure you’re tracking outcomes and patient satisfaction; these metrics are key to consistently improving the value that you bring to your clients. Furthermore, these metrics also may increase your sense of satisfaction with the care you’re providing.


Look into outcome tracking tools, and when polls go out about what’s important to you, respond with “numbers.”

2. Patient-Focused Marketing

We are in this field to help patients. Thus, patients are our target market. Period. It’s easy to get caught up in the race for physician referrals—a race created by insurance companies and policy-makers. But, things are starting to change, and in 2015, the manner in which we engage our patients will prove more important than ever. Our patients are scouring the Internet for resources. We have to meet these patients were they are and speak to their concerns. For example, in 2014, OTs loved using the phrase “distinct value” in promotions and advertisements, and while this is an important concept, it doesn’t matter to patients. It matters to practitioners and policy makers. Patients care about how OT is going to help them—so let’s make that our focus.


Take a look at your marketing materials. Are you using words that will resonate with your patients?

3. Grassroots Conversations

This is my favorite trend. With unprecedented connectivity via the web and social media, conversations no longer have to be of the official, mediated variety. We do not have to passively wait for change to come from the top; rather, it can grow from the bottom-up. However, that puts more responsibility on individual practitioners. So, don't wait around. We need to talk to each other so we can share what is working and what isn't working in our practices.


Join the conversations happening on Twitter, Facebook, industry blogs, and OT Connections.

4. OT Doctorate as the Single Point of Entry by 2025

In 2014, the AOTA issued a position statement declaring that by 2025, OTs should enter practice as doctorate-level professionals. If this position moves forward, it will influence the overall direction of our profession for decades to come. There is much debate on this topic, with intelligent arguments falling on both sides of the aisle. If you have an opinion on this issue, 2015 is the year to speak out, because this year, the AOTA board of directors will refer the statement to the Representative Assembly for further consideration.


Participate in one of the meetings the AOTA has planned to discuss this issue.

5. Big Change from Small-Scale Improvements

There are no excuses. With so many new and continually enhanced resources out there to help you streamline your practice, there are no excuses for putting your practice-improvement efforts on the back-burner this year. Whether you work in a giant hospital or you’re a practice owner, there is something out there—a piece of technology, a marketing tactic, or perhaps an educational opportunity—that can help you step up your game. Growing our profession means each individual practice must get a little bit better over the course of 2015!


Read up on best practices. Have fun exploring all the tools out there to help grow your practice.

I believe these five trends will change our profession for the better throughout 2015 and beyond. What OT trends do you think will have the biggest impact in our industry? What are your plans to help move the profession forward this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.  

About the Author

Sarah received her Bachelor of Art from St. Olaf College and her Master of Occupational Therapy from New York University. Her work experience includes a critical access hospital, an acute trauma hospital, and a state inpatient psychiatric hospital. She is the creator of otpotential.com, where she blogs for OT students and new practitioners. Nebraska is her home, but she currently live in Chicago. Check her out on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Common Questions from Our Stalled Patient Progress Webinar Image

    articleFeb 7, 2018 | 9 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Stalled Patient Progress Webinar

    Earlier this week, Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, the president and co-founder of WebPT, teamed up with Charlotte Bohnett, WebPT’s director of demand generation, to host a webinar on common barriers to patient progress —and strategies for overcoming them. During the question-and-answer portion of the presentation, we received quite a few audience questions on the nuances of fostering patient engagement and moving patients toward their therapy goals as efficiently as possible. We’ve compiled the most frequently …

  • Think Big, Think Differently: 6 Bits of Inspiration from Ascend 2017 Image

    articleOct 5, 2017 | 11 min. read

    Think Big, Think Differently: 6 Bits of Inspiration from Ascend 2017

    The overarching theme of Ascend 2017 —the fourth-annual installment of rehab therapy’s premier business summit—was, quite simply, “Think big.” But, based on what we learned from our esteemed group of speakers over the course of two inspiration-filled days in Washington, DC, a more accurate tagline for this year’s conference might have been, “Think differently.” After all, in a field as complex as health care, grand aspirations are not enough. To solve the problems plaguing this industry, we …

  • The PT’s Playbook: 5 Key Plays to Win in 2015 Image

    webinarJan 27, 2015

    The PT’s Playbook: 5 Key Plays to Win in 2015

    The new year brings new challenges—and opportunities. To win big in 2015, you’ve got to know where and when to act. In this webinar, hosts Mike Manheimer and Heidi Jannenga will identify the five biggest trends taking hold of the PT industry this year—and what you can do to capitalize on these conditions. That way, you not only survive the wave of change, but thrive. In this session, you’ll learn how to: Better track performance and negotiate …

  • Body Talk: 4 Ways Your Patients Are Communicating Nonverbally Image

    articleMar 2, 2018 | 6 min. read

    Body Talk: 4 Ways Your Patients Are Communicating Nonverbally

    It may sound cliché, but it’s true: actions often speak louder than words. Don’t get me wrong, strong verbal communication skills are essential to the success of any relationship, including the one between a patient and his or her provider. However, there are times when a patient’s actions will tell you one thing while his or her words tell you another—and therein lies the importance of nonverbal communication in health care. It’s not that patients are intentionally …

  • Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them) Image

    webinarDec 22, 2017

    Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them)

    If life is a highway, then it’s a wild, bumpy one. And while our patients want to ride it (all night long), with all those twists, turns, and potholes, they’re bound to get banged up. Fortunately, you’re here to help get them back in top form. But, helping patients achieve their goals is hard work—for you and for them—and while everyone strives to be a Ferrari, it’s common to plateau at Pinto. And that’s when the risk …

  • Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar Image

    articleMar 28, 2018 | 12 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar

    Strive Labs co-founders Ryan Klepps and Scott Hebert recently joined WebPT president Heidi Jannenga for an insightful webinar about improving patient retention and reducing early patient drop-out. We know this is a super-relevant topic, especially because the cost of diminishing patient visits represents a $6 billion problem that not many people in the industry are talking about—at least not yet. As a result, we received a slew of great questions that we couldn’t get to live on …

  • 5 Things I Wish I had Learned in PT School Image

    articleSep 12, 2017 | 10 min. read

    5 Things I Wish I had Learned in PT School

    I am not one of those people who bounded out of physical therapy school, brimming with confidence and ready to take on the world. I didn’t lead any groups or clubs during school. I made absolutely no effort to network. And I wound up spending the first two years of my PT career bouncing around a bit, trying to find my footing in the physical therapy industry. While I had a really solid clinical education in PT …

  • Six Steps for PTs Considering Crowd-Funding Image

    articleMay 14, 2014 | 8 min. read

    Six Steps for PTs Considering Crowd-Funding

    Your next-generation rehab tool is poised to be a big hit in the market, but you can’t construct a prototype because you are maxed out on credit cards. You’re looking to expand your practice to a second location and are on a capital campaign to secure the lease and fund the build-out. Maybe you’re simply trying to purchase a much-needed piece of equipment for you clinic, but the bank isn’t extending your business’s line of credit. What …

  • Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans Image

    webinarFeb 23, 2017

    Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans

    Copayments, coinsurances, unresolved balances—oh my! Any one of these can cause headaches for healthcare providers, but as healthcare reform efforts shift more and more financial burden to insurance beneficiaries, today’s practitioners are increasingly facing all three. And these challenges are not only hurting their patient acquisition and retention rates, but also their bottom lines. Tired of spending time verifying benefits only to lose those patients to copay sticker shock? Stuck in a constant cycle of pursuing past-due …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.