7 tips for improving work efficiencyAs you’ve probably noticed, we’ve dedicated a sizeable portion of this month’s blog space to helping you and your clinic conserve resources and become more environmentally conscious. But let’s not forget about the most important resource of all—your time! You might assume that you need a major systematic overhaul to improve work efficiency in your clinic. Not so. In this case, small investments pay big dividends. Here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of every minute:

1. Establish a process. Once you’ve fine-tuned your routine, educate staff and patients about what you expect from them. This is especially helpful for repeat clients; once a patient learns the drill, he or she will move through it quickly on subsequent visits.

2. Keep traffic flowing. You don’t want anyone—especially your patients—to feel rushed, but you don’t have to be a drill sergeant to keep things moving. Prep therapy areas ahead of time and make sure all necessary supplies are out and ready to go. Don’t let patients stand around and twiddle their thumbs after they arrive. Whenever possible, enlist the help of an aide or an assistant to get them started right off the bat with ultrasound, heat therapy, or pre-exercise warm-ups.

3. Avoid handoffs. This is not a relay race; passing around a task like it’s a baton will only lead to mistakes and wasted effort. Unless there’s a solid reason for multiple employees to have their hands in a certain job, let one person take the reins and get ’er done.

4. Huddle up. Try starting each day with a short staff pow wow—we’re talking ten minutes, tops—to review the day’s schedule and discuss any questions or concerns. Are there patients on the schedule who might require extra time or assistance? Are there any appointment openings you can fill? Does anyone need to leave early today? By anticipating challenges and addressing them before they occur, you significantly reduce the time spent dealing with them during the workday.

5. Create a culture of timeliness. If you have a lax attitude about your clinic’s schedule, your staff and patients will follow suit—and that opens up the door for lollygagging employees and lots of canceled appointments and no-shows. Show you mean business by making a genuine effort to stick to the schedule. If you’re swamped, don’t get hung up on time-sucking tasks that you can tackle later, once things settle down. In short, respect the time of others, and they will return the favor.

6. Find your groove. Working styles are not one-size-fits-all. Maybe you have a great memory and prefer to dive into notes at the end of the day, when you can knock it all out in one fell swoop. Or maybe you’d rather document as you go, while details are still fresh in your mind. Experiment with different approaches, find what works best for you, and then go forth and conquer.

7. Get techy. Using an EMR system is a huge time-saver on its own, but pairing it with the right tools will raise your clinic’s efficiency to the next level. Not a gadget geek? No problem. Most of today’s programs and devices—the good ones, anyway—are super intuitive and user-friendly. If you’ve got some wiggle room in your budget, consider investing in tablets—iPads are by far the most popular—for your therapists and assistants so they can access patient charts and flow sheets anytime, anywhere. Want to pull up a Netter Anatomy diagram to help a patient understand her injury? Tablets can do that, too. Sure beats running back to your office all the time, right? If you’ve already outfitted your office with iPads, here are a couple more tech upgrades to consider:

  • Pagers or text messaging for your support staff—that way, your receptionist doesn’t waste time circling the building in search of a certain employee.
  • Dual monitors for your billing staff. Sifting through a mish-mash of numbers and codes is hard enough; constantly toggling between windows makes the job even more tedious.


Those are my seven tips for improving work efficiency. What do you recommend?

The Physical Therapists Guide to Contract Negotiation - Regular BannerThe Physical Therapists Guide to Contract Negotiation - Small Banner
  • articleAug 13, 2011 | 2 min. read

    How to tell if an EMR will help or hinder your practice

    While looking at an EMR for your clinic, it can be hard to understand what will work for you and what won't. To add to it, the messages in the industry seem a bit mixed and muddled. On any given day, you may read an article outlining all of the reasons why EMR adoption is slow and difficult for a non-technical staff.   A number of reasons fault the user and not the software. The next day, …

  • Founder Letter: 4 Predictions for PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017 Image

    articleJan 5, 2017 | 15 min. read

    Founder Letter: 4 Predictions for PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017

    Last year, I laid out a handful of predictions for 2016 —and what do you know? Most of them were spot on. In fact, much of what I covered—think interoperability, the importance of data collection, payment reform, and the push toward private practice consolidation—are all holding strong and will surely continue into 2017 (well, barring any unforeseeable curveballs to the state of health care as we know it, that is). In the meantime, though, here’s what I …

  • The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring Image

    articleJan 25, 2016 | 2 min. read

    The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring

    Does the pressure of filling an open job position have you sweating bullets? Matching a candidate’s skills and abilities to a particular role is no easy feat, but my hiring process strategy can help you shed some of the stress. Physical therapists have a process for just about everything—except hiring. And not having a comprehensive hiring process can be costly for your practice—not only in terms of money, but also with respect to morale. After all, there’s …

  • articleOct 11, 2012 | 4 min. read

    What Can Your EMR Do for You Beyond Documentation?

    Today’s blog post comes from copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen. Earlier this week we tackled four reasons your practice should ditch paper documentation and go digital with Electronic Medical Records (EMR). At this point, you've either already made the switch or you’ve probably at least made up your mind to go digital soon. No matter what stage you’re in, we all know that EMR is an investment, and you might be wondering how to get the …

  • How to Better Manage Your Staff Within WebPT Image

    articleJan 11, 2016 | 4 min. read

    How to Better Manage Your Staff Within WebPT

    Businesses are like ecosystems—and that analogy certainly applies to rehab therapy practices. There are many factors that influence how a business operates. Everything has to be in balance; otherwise, every part of your practice feels the impact—from your patients to your front office staff. So, how do you keep your ecosystem healthy? Part of it comes from having the right staff —and a solid management system—in place. But, you also need the right tools to propel your …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2017 Image

    webinarJun 5, 2017

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2017

    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 our July webinar, WebPT president and co-founder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham will share and analyze the …

  • Scale for Success Image

    articleMar 20, 2014 | 4 min. read

    Scale for Success

    Managing growth within a multi-location organization through standardization, communication, and inclusion In today’s ultra-competitive healthcare environment, it is crucial to the success of your organization to take advantage of every possible opportunity to grow despite competitive threats from much larger players. One of the main reasons organizations attempt to grow is to take advantage of the many benefits (otherwise known as “economies of scale”) that result from such growth. As clinic owners, when we think of growth, …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy Image

    downloadJul 14, 2017

    The State of Rehab Therapy

    Health care is not a static industry. It’s always changing, evolving, and progressing. No healthcare provider is immune to the effects of that change, but some—including physical, occupational, and speech therapists—have felt a greater impact than others. In an effort to assess the scope of that impact—and thus, better anticipate the future needs of the rehab therapy community—WebPT conducted an industry survey of therapy professionals across a wide variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions. Our goal: …

  • 6 Steps to Giving Meaningful Feedback in the Workplace Image

    articleSep 26, 2016 | 7 min. read

    6 Steps to Giving Meaningful Feedback in the Workplace

    Feedback is a funny thing. Everyone loves to receive it, but no one likes to give it. And that spells trouble. Because without feedback, there is no improvement; and without improvement, relationships fail—especially in business. After all, employees leave managers, not companies . That’s right; at the end of the day, employees disengage and eventually quit because of poor relationships with their coworkers and leaders. And the root cause of that failed partnership often is feedback—or lack …

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