Think back to the scrappy, bootstrapped start-up era of your practice. If I had to guess, I’d bet those early days were infused with optimism, enthusiasm, and healthy dose of anxiety. But with a lot of hard work—and maybe a little luck—word spread about the quality of your patient care, and your budding clinic flourished into a strong, healthy business. Perhaps you even added another location or two—or more. And at that point, you probably realized that—as with any multi-location business—maintaining the same level of service as you did when you were a one-spot operation can be a challenge. And that’s especially true if you don’t have the right tools (e.g., patient engagement software).

If you’ve ever received less-than-excellent feedback about a particular patient’s experience at one of your practices, you might be feeling a bit helpless in your fight to ease the pains that come with a growing business. After all, with one or two practices, fostering highly personalized, one-on-one relationships with patients and referral sources—as well as delivering the kind of top-notch service that prevents patient dropout—was a fairly manageable task.

But, as your practice grows, it’s tough to scale your playbook for providing exemplary service with a personal touch. In fact, when we conducted our recent industry-wide survey of rehab therapy professionals, we found that patient care improvement becomes more challenging the larger a company gets. So, how can you continue to grow your business without sacrificing service?

Breaking Bad Habits: The Modern PT’s Formula for Success - Regular BannerBreaking Bad Habits: The Modern PT’s Formula for Success - Small Banner

Be environmentally conscious.

No practice is ever too big to maintain an inviting, soothing environment, and that starts with a great patient experience in reception as well as in the treatment area. I’m not just talking about a fresh coat of paint and ocean sounds on repeat. Every aesthetic decision should be made with the patient’s comfort in mind, whether it be providing pleasing light (try to avoid fluorescent bulbs!) or putting a TV in the waiting area. In fact, a pleasant reception environment can actually turn the waiting period into an enjoyable event that has a positive impact on the patient experience. Additionally, your front office staff—and your providers—should be well-versed in the basics of top-notch customer service, and you should implement policies (e.g., greeting every patient who walks through the door or keeping patients updated on wait times) that reflect that philosophy.

Keep in touch.

As any business owner or executive knows, attracting new business can be a costly endeavor. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that "acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one," so we know it’s financially responsible to hang on to existing patients. And—perhaps more importantly—focusing on patient retention is beneficial to the patients themselves. We’ve discussed the positive impact of maintaining contact after discharge in the past, highlighting the crucial connection between keeping an open patient-to-provider dialogue and building patient loyalty. But, as your business grows, manually reaching out to each individual patient after discharge can be a challenge. Some practices address this with generic email blasts, but these are often impersonal and have a tendency to get lost in the recipient’s inbox. Fortunately, there’s a solution that addresses this problem by allowing for personalized post-discharge communication without putting extra strain on your busy schedule.

Think beyond the monthly newsletter.

Don’t get me wrong; newsletterswhen done correctly—are great for ensuring you remain on your patients’ minds, but crafting them can become a time-consuming endeavor. Instead, consider deploying automated messaging about complimentary consultations or wellness evaluations every quarter—and if you can tailor those complimentary services to the patient’s specific health goals, all the better. Some tools even allow you to send automated emails to certain types of patients—providing educational content and other targeted messaging. You can also show love for your patients with a well-organized patient appreciation event (and you don’t have to break the bank to do it).

Additionally, any EMR worth its salt will have built-in tools to supplement your patient re-engagement and retention efforts. For example, your software should help your front office identify when a patient was last seen and whether he or she has an upcoming appointment on the schedule. Your staff can then use this information to reach out to patients before they become lost forever.

Measure the patient experience.

As your company grows, you may find it difficult to maintain a high level of staff awareness around patient experience in your practice. In fact, you may have already taken some steps to correct this in the form of end-of-treatment satisfaction surveys. There’s just one problem: paper surveys are reactive and often environmentally biased, so how do you know you’re getting an accurate snapshot? That’s where your Net Promoter Score (NPS) comes in. If you’re not familiar with NPS, it’s a management tool that gauges the customer's overall satisfaction with a company's product or service as well as his or her loyalty to the brand on a scale of one to 10. And if you’re a busy practice owner, the information you glean from your NPS about the patient experience in your practice has value beyond measure.

Turn numbers into knowledge.

However, without the proper patient relationship tracking tools, your NPS score is only telling you half the story. Fortunately, patient relationship management (PRM) software can help you connect all the dots—and those connections are even stronger if you use a PRM platform that integrates with your existing EMR. Using information like patient diagnoses, eval and discharge dates, and NPS data, an integrated EMR and PRM platform offers the perfect solution for keeping your patients engaged and loyal. After all, now that more than 76% of rehab therapists have ditched the clipboard for a cloud-based EMR, you and your providers likely aren’t documenting on paper. So, why would you measure the patient experience on paper?

Growing a startup into a large, thriving company is one heck of an achievement, but as with any business, blossoming into a booming rehab therapy practice doesn’t come without a few growing pains. And if those growing pains threaten to harm the patient experience, they could be doing some serious damage to your brand’s—and your—reputation. By tracking, measuring, and nurturing patient satisfaction, you’re ensuring the continued growth of your practice as well as the cultivation of brand evangelists. Because the fact is, when you prioritize the physical health and happiness of your patients, you’re safeguarding the financial health and happiness of your entire practice.

  • What to Expect at Ascend 2018 Image

    articleApr 3, 2018 | 3 min. read

    What to Expect at Ascend 2018

    This year, WebPT is celebrating our tenth year in business—and what better way to cap off a decade of innovation than to host the rehab industry’s premier business innovation summit in our own backyard? And who better to join us than rehab therapy’s top leaders, healers, and trailblazers? Clearly, we’re super excited for Ascend 2018 —coming to Phoenix, Arizona on September 28-29—and we hope you are, too. Last year’s event in Washington, DC was a massive hit. …

  • Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue Image

    webinarFeb 12, 2018

    Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue

    In one corner, we have a highly skilled rehab therapy provider known for delivering amazing clinical outcomes through noninvasive, movement-based treatment. And in the other corner, we have a discouraged, disengaged patient whose quality of life has taken a major hit due to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. [video://]   If you’re a rehab therapy provider, you’ve probably seen this battle play out more times than you can count—and we’re betting that more often than not, your therapy …

  • Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It Image

    downloadApr 24, 2018

    Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It

    Patient health is the top priority for most rehab therapists—specifically, getting patients back to a level of health that allows them to do what they love. But, when patients say “sayonara” before they reach their therapy goals, they lose the opportunity to live their fullest lives. To make matters worse, the average rehab therapy practice will lose $150,000 annually due to patient dropout alone. Talk about a one-two punch to the gut. Here at WebPT, we believe …

  • Ascend 2018: Our Biggest Speaker Lineup Yet Image

    articleJun 20, 2018 | 3 min. read

    Ascend 2018: Our Biggest Speaker Lineup Yet

    This year marks WebPT’s 10th anniversary of education, dedication, and innovation in the rehab therapy space—and what better way to celebrate than to put together our biggest Ascend agenda and speaker lineup yet? Rehab therapy’s best and brightest will come together this fall at Ascend—but this conference isn’t just about gleaning tons of actionable business wisdom from our superstar speakers. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take the floor yourself as you participate in meaningful discussions …

  • 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 …

  • Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar Image

    articleJul 17, 2017 | 16 min. read

    Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar

    WebPT recently conducted an industry survey of thousands of rehab therapy professionals across a wide variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions. Our goal: To capture an accurate snapshot of the demographics, trends, frustrations, and motivations that shape our businesses, our future outlook, and our potential for success in this environment of change. In last week’s webinar , WebPT President and Co-Founder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham shared the results of …

  • 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 …

  • Second That Emotion: How Emotional Intelligence Creates Loyal Patients Image

    articleSep 19, 2017 | 6 min. read

    Second That Emotion: How Emotional Intelligence Creates Loyal Patients

    If you’re a fan of “The Office,” you’re undoubtedly familiar with Michael Scott’s cringe-inducing behavior. While his awkward, emotional outbursts make for great comedy, if you had to work with someone like Michael, you probably wouldn’t stick around very long. And if that person were a rehab therapist, his or her patients probably wouldn’t stick around very long, either. That’s because—as funny as Steve Carell's iconic character is—Michael is impetuous and emotional (and not in a good …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Image

    downloadJun 28, 2018

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018

    To see results from our most recent industry survey, check out the 2019 State of Rehab Therapy Report. To say that the healthcare industry is complex would be an understatement. While the advent of technology has made care more precise, efficient, and collaborative than ever before, it has also put greater pressure on providers to deliver high-value care at scale. After all, big data makes it possible to not only develop the most effective, evidence-based best practices …

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