If you run an outpatient rehabilitation practice, facility, or department, chances are good that you’ve been looking for ways to help boost your organization’s revenue—especially given the fact that third-party reimbursement rates have been steadily declining (or at least remaining stagnant) for a while now. While you could certainly try to renegotiate your contracts—or haggle for more approved visits per patient—these strategies may require more effort than they’re worth. Instead, there are patient-focused strategies you can employ to simultaneously improve your reputation and generate more revenue. Here are four:
1. Monitor the patient experience.
As healthcare reform efforts continue to demand improved patient experiences, it’s becoming absolutely imperative that healthcare facilities in all disciplines make this a top priority. This is especially true for physical therapists who see patients for several sessions over weeks, months, or years. After all, you don’t get paid unless your patients return—and patients are unlikely to return if their experience is subpar.
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But, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. And in my experience, traditional satisfaction surveys don’t hold water; they’re simply not sensitive enough to provide you with actionable data. Plus, the facilities that are successful in this new era of health care go beyond merely satisfying their patients; they exceed their patients’ expectations, thereby fostering patient loyalty. And the best way to measure their success on that front is by using Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) tracking, which involves asking just one simple question at consistent intervals throughout a patient’s course of care: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to refer a friend, family member, or colleague to our practice?” Add on a text box that allows your patients to provide additional feedback, and you’ll have a gold mine of accurate, valuable, and actionable data about the patient experience.
2. Empower your patients to be brand evangelists.
Once you’ve implemented NPS, you’ll know which patients are happy with—and loyal to—your organization. Then, you can empower them to be brand evangelists. In other words, you can give your already-pleased patients the tools they need to help you optimize your digital presence and reach even more patients, thus growing your revenue stream. And in most cases, all you have to do is ask. After all, those patients have already indicated their interest in sharing the benefits of your services with their network, so the next step is simply to ask if they’d be willing to provide an online review or testimonial about their experience. Then, make it easy for them to do so. Otherwise, as WebPT’s Courtney Lefferts explains in this post, even your happiest patients may not go out of their way to leave you a review: “To get good feedback—the kind you want prospective patients to see—start by getting ahead of your happy patients and giving them a way to leave on-the-spot reviews or testimonials,” she said.
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You could always hand a patient an iPad to complete a review while he or she is in the clinic. But to make things even easier, consider adopting patient relationship management (PRM) software that will not only help you manage the NPS tracking process, but also automatically send loyal patients an email requesting they provide an online review—along with an easy-to-access link to do so. That way, they can write you a glowing review from the comfort of their living room.
3. Take action to minimize patient dropout.
In addition to helping you identify the patients who are already loyal to your practice—and are thus more likely to sing your praises as well as complete their entire courses of care—NPS tracking will help you identify patients who aren’t pleased with your services, and thus are more likely to drop out of care early. According to research we performed at Strive Labs, only 30% of patients who receive outpatient physical therapy services attend all the visits their insurance company authorizes, which means 70% of patients are bailing on therapy early. That’s bad for not only business—think about how much revenue is being left on the table—but also patient outcomes, because there’s a good chance that most of those patients didn’t reach their goals within their first few sessions.
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With consistent NPS tracking, though, you’ll be able to identify those unhappy patients early—and immediately address their concerns in order to keep them engaged with their care and ensure they complete all the visits necessary to reach their full functional potential. Just be sure that you implement a process for regularly reviewing patient feedback, sharing it with the appropriate staff members, and acting on it to make meaningful improvements to your clinic operations.
4. Provide valuable content to re-engage patients who may be in need of your services in the future.
Revenue-boosting patient engagement strategies can come into play between sessions—by providing patients access to an interactive digital home exercise program that keeps them on track—as well as post discharge. After all, there’s a solid chance your patients may require the skills of an excellent therapist again. To stay connected to your patients—and thus top of mind—during interim periods, send valuable content that relates to their diagnoses and interests as well as news updates about your clinic and additional services that may be of benefit. Just make sure you have a current email on file—and written permission to send educational content and marketing materials.
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While small clinics may be able to manage this type of communication strategy manually, larger clinics—and those in periods of rapid growth—may benefit from relying on PRM software to automate the process. That way, you can be sure every patient receives valuable content on a regular schedule. And speaking of value-adds, it’s also a great idea to keep the channels of communication open between patient sessions, so patients always know how to get in touch with questions and concerns. Just be sure that communication channel isn’t your personal email or cell number.
Looking for the very best PRM software that will help you easily implement these patient-focused revenue strategies—including automating the NPS process and automatically emailing loyal patients to request reviews? Schedule a complimentary demo of WebPT Reach. With WebPT Reach, clinics have been able to decrease early patient dropout by up to 20% and increase patient referrals by more than 5%, all while reducing work for clinical and administrative staff.