As a general rule, I do my best to steer clear of politics in these letters. Aside from pushing for pro-PT legislation, I keep my views on party lines to myself. After all, beyond the individuals elected, the goal of our democratic government has always been to work together to find solutions that serve the greater good. Now, we’ve had government shutdowns before—sadly enough. But the three-day shutdown that happened at the end of January was particularly concerning considering that the President’s party controlled both houses of Congress. And the solution? A mere three-week Band-Aid that simply allows the government to kick the can down the road on important decisions. Supposedly, American voters elected a businessperson to run our country like a business—that was the promise during campaign season, at least. But, how good is a business strategy that allows our government to shut down—to essentially “go out of business”—a year later?
More than blaming one person, though, this brings to light a fundamental flaw in our current political system: there’s no cohesiveness or unified vision, and that doesn’t bode well in terms of stability or longevity—two absolutely crucial elements in any successful endeavor. To continue the business analogy, if I were an investor, I’d run—not walk—away from our current government, because all signs point to failure.
So, what does all of this have to do with rehab therapy? Well, for starters, the lack of cohesiveness in Washington could threaten resolution on issues like the therapy cap, which would mean all the work we’ve done in terms of advocacy and garnering bipartisan support could be for naught. Beyond that, though, I think the shutdown serves as a reminder of just how important a people-first, vision-driven approach to business really is—whether that be the business of government, health care, or technology. Ultimately, it all comes down to people—and in my opinion, putting people first is the only way to achieve long-term success. It’s certainly been our priority at WebPT.
The WebPT Story
Speaking of long-term success, this month, we’re celebrating WebPT’s 10-year anniversary, and I couldn’t be more proud of all of the innovative, game-changing work we’ve been able to do—on the company front as well for the rehab therapy industry at large. And we couldn’t have done any of it without you, our beloved WebPT community members. In honor of this momentous anniversary, I’d like to share with you four of my favorite milestones:
1. We’ve helped more rehab therapists document electronically.
And that’s good for patients and providers alike. When we first started WebPT, 80% of therapists were still documenting on paper, despite the fact that providers in other healthcare disciplines were already taking advantage of new technological solutions. Today, that number has flipped: 80% of PTs, OTs, and SLPs use an electronic medical record to ensure their documentation is comprehensive, compliant, and defensible—and to provide each patient with a more complete medical record that can be easily shared with other members of his or her care team. (And of the 80% who use an EMR, 35% use a WebPT product.) That’s a huge step in the right direction for rehab therapists who are looking to own their role as care coordinators—and streamline data collection efforts to demonstrate the value of rehab therapy to patients, payers, and other providers. Plus, with the sheer number of regulations coming down the pike each year, PTs, OTs, and SLPs couldn’t possibly stay compliant—and thus get paid—without the help of top-notch documentation software that comes complete with constantly updated compliance tools and alerts.
2. We’ve grown from three employees to 300—and gone from serving five clinics to more than 75,000.
From the very beginning, we’ve focused on collecting—and acting upon—Member feedback, and we’ve evolved and innovated our product based on Member recommendations. As a result, we’ve added a billing service, billing integrations, billing software, built-in outcomes tracking and reporting capabilities, in-depth business and analytics reporting capabilities, built-in FLR and PQRS reporting tools, an intelligent ICD-10 tool, a Member-exclusive marketplace, and now, patient engagement software. We’re also on track to provide our Members with built-in MIPS reporting tools and features before the 2019 start date. We’ve evolved from the simple EMR documentation system that we first launched from the storeroom of a coffee shop into a multi-product healthcare technology platform company headquartered in Phoenix, with hub locations in both Denver and Boston. And through it all, we’ve managed to maintain a 99.99% uptime rate and a 99% customer retention rate.
WebPT made the Honor Roll.
Our innovation—as well as our people-first approach to business and conscious approach to leadership—has enabled us to scale while still remaining true to our roots. As a result of our measured growth, we’ve been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies five years in a row. This honor places WebPT among an elite group of independent business collectively known as the “Inc. 5000 Honor Roll.” To check out all the other prestigious awards we’ve been honored to receive, take a look at our press page here.
3. We’ve become a trusted industry resource that stands for something.
We’ve supported our Members—and the entire rehab therapy community—through numerous changes and challenges, including FLR, PQRS, ICD-10, the move to value-based payment and care models, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the adoption of direct access legislation in all 50 states, and the introduction of a new system for coding initial evaluations. I think it’s safe to say that it’s been quite an eventful decade.
And I think it’s also safe to say that we've grown into more than just a software solution: we’re now a trusted resource and partner in the PT, OT, and SLP communities. We’ve led the way in educating our industry—and raising the knowledge bar—on technology and digital marketing, providing information on everything from cloud-computing and cybersecurity to lead generation and social media. In addition to publishing around four blog posts every week, hosting an always-free webinar or two each each quarter, and holding the industry’s only dedicated business conference for the past four years, we’re continually advocating for rehab therapists at the state and national levels. This year, we’re focusing our efforts on:
- Establishing unrestricted direct access in more states;
- Removing the restrictions preventing rehab therapists from providing—and getting paid for—telehealth services;
- Eliminating the therapy cap; and
- Pushing the interstate licensure cap forward.
4. We’ve started a movement.
Many of our Members—and our employees’ families—experienced the effects of the hurricanes and wildfires that ravished the US and the Caribbean in this past fall. In fact, at our annual Ascend business summit, Kathy Swanick, President of the Florida Physical Therapy Association, and Felicia Wenah, Houston native and physical therapy student at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, Texas, shared with attendees some personal stories about how this devastation has impacted their home states. In the wake of so much destruction—and heartache—we here at WebPT decided to take action in alignment with our core value of giving back. As part of our Member Assist program—which we began following the Joplin, Missouri tornado in 2011—we provided affected WebPT Members with the supplies and consumables they needed to get their clinics back up and running as soon as possible. But, given just how devastating these natural disasters proved to be, that wasn’t nearly enough, which is why we decided to take things one very big step further.
We launched Rehab Therapists Give Back.
As part of Rehab Therapists Give Back (RTGB), we challenged the entire rehab therapy community to band together to raise $1 million to benefit those families, communities, and clinics impacted by last year’s events. And it isn’t a WebPT thing; it’s a rehab therapy community thing. The outpouring of support we’ve received from the community thus far shows that in the presence of a worthy cause, the rehab therapy community comes together and unites for the greater good. It’s true that we’re all in this together. As rehab therapists, we’re driven by a deep desire to help people. It’s why most of us chose this profession in the first place. Well, this marks an opportunity—a defining moment, really—to channel that drive into action to make the world a better place.
These past 10 years have been a wild, wonderful ride. I’ve learned so much about this industry—about business, leadership, hiring, and culture. And in the process, I’ve also learned a lot about myself. It’s been an honor serving you for the past decade, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your wonderful contribution to this profession. We couldn’t do what we do without you. You’re an inspiration, and we hope you’ll join us for the next decade. We have a lot more great things in store for our Members. After all, our vision is, and always will be, to help rehab therapists achieve greatness in practice. And we’ll continue doing everything possible to ensure the longevity of the rehab therapy community—regardless of what happens on Capitol Hill. So, here’s to another 10 years—together.