Many practices employ physical therapy techs to help progress patients through their in-clinic exercises when a therapist has multiple patients in the office at the same time. While techs can help enable therapists to manage larger patient loads—thereby improving patient access to care and increasing revenue for the business—there may be a cost associated with this common business practice. And that’s especially true if your techs aren’t practicing at the top of their game. In fact, passing off a patient to a subpar tech could damage an otherwise pleased patient’s experience with your practice on the whole. With that in mind, here are three ways your PT support staff could be ruining the patient experience:

The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Guide - Regular BannerThe State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Guide - Small Banner

1. Not being friendly or professional.

Everyone on your staff should be both friendly and professional—a representative of your brand and your core values at all times. The best way to ensure this is the case is to hire for cultural fit—not for speed, price, or convenience. If you plan to turn a patient over to someone else in your clinic—whether that be another PT, a tech, or an assistant—you better be sure that person will provide a level of quality that meets (or exceeds) your standards. After all, no one wants to pay for services administered by a grump—or someone who easily gets distracted chatting with other staff members. And with patients footing a greater portion of their healthcare costs, an even exchange of value is of paramount importance.

2. Displaying a lack of familiarity with the prescribed exercises.

If you send your patient to complete his or her exercises with a tech, then that tech better be more than familiar with those exercises—and able to read the flowsheet without having to flag you down for assistance. Otherwise, you risk creating a situation in which the patient believes he or she would be better off working alone or with the help of a YouTube video—anything besides working with a less-than-knowledgeable tech who could at best waste that patient's time and at worst cause an injury. That’s a quick way to diminish the value of your services in the eyes of your patients. Instead, you should be vetting your techs thoroughly during the interview process—as well as providing comprehensive training and assessment to ensure your techs have not only the knowledge necessary to explain and demonstrate the exercises you prescribe, but also the opportunity to ask you questions about those exercises before working with a patient.

While you’re at it, you may also want to consider providing digital flowsheets instead of handwritten ones. This could be a big help to your techs as they run patients through particularly challenging sets—especially if your handwriting is tough to read.

3. Failing to follow through.

No one wants to be left hanging—and that’s especially true for physical therapy patients waiting to get on with their exercise program. Thus, it’s imperative for whoever is guiding your patients through their exercises to stay focused—and to avoid going off to check on other patients without checking back in. Clear communication is paramount to ensuring patients feel well-cared-for—and that’s a huge component of a positive patient experience. We all know how important patient engagement is to stellar outcomes—but your patients are taking cues from you and your staff. If not everyone on your team is engaged, chances are good your patients won’t be either.


While relying on techs for support may be necessary to get all of your patients in the door—and to generate enough revenue to remain in business—patients may be expecting to work with their PT while they’re in the office. Thus, it’s best to set clear expectations from the beginning—and explain the benefit of having PT support staff available. On top of that, be sure you’re only hiring the best—and that goes for any position you’re trying to fill. That way, your patients will receive the very best care regardless of who provides it.

  • PT or PTA: Who to Hire—and When Image

    articleApr 18, 2018 | 6 min. read

    PT or PTA: Who to Hire—and When

    If your staff is feeling overworked and overwhelmed, then it’s high-time to make a change—and that change may very well entail adding to your headcount (and your payroll ). But, a smart practice—and a smart leader—will want to maximize those dollars by making the right hire. Do you really need another full-time therapist? Maybe—but maybe not. Instead, perhaps you need a per diem therapist —or a PTA. Before you post that job description , take a look …

  • More Than a Number: Personalizing Patient Care in Your Growing Therapy Practice Image

    articleMar 28, 2018 | 4 min. read

    More Than a Number: Personalizing Patient Care in Your Growing Therapy Practice

    Many small private practices achieve success because of the stellar one-on-one care they provide—and amazing patient experiences they create. After all, what better way to foster patient loyalty and garner word-of-mouth referrals to ultimately boost revenue as well as your reputation? Unfortunately, though, that level of attention can be difficult to maintain as your practice grows—and patients can end up falling through the proverbial cracks as providers’ calendars become increasingly jam-packed. That is, of course, unless you …

  • The Physical Therapist's HEP Software Buyer's Guide Image

    articleMar 22, 2018 | 4 min. read

    The Physical Therapist's HEP Software Buyer's Guide

    Most people don’t particularly enjoy receiving homework—and your patients are no different. But, a physical therapy home exercise program (HEP) is a necessary component of an effective PT plan of care. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to work with a patient in-clinic and achieve the results you both want. Plus, the very best long-term results often stem from lifestyle changes, and that’s something your patients have to do for themselves— with your expert help, …

  • Common Questions from Our 2018 State of Rehab Therapy Webinar Image

    articleJul 13, 2018 | 21 min. read

    Common Questions from Our 2018 State of Rehab Therapy Webinar

    Earlier this year, we surveyed nearly 7,000 PT, OT, and SLP professionals on the current state of the rehab therapy industry, asking questions on everything from salary and student loan debt to payer mix and patient dropout. We then compiled their responses into our comprehensive State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 report and hosted webinar during which Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, president and co-founder of WebPT, and Nancy Ham, WebPT CEO, offered their take on …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Image

    downloadJun 17, 2019

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019

    Each year, we survey thousands of rehab therapy professionals on the metrics, strategies, and complicating factors that influence success in the current healthcare market. In 2019, we received more than 6,000 responses from individuals in a variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions—and we’ve compiled all that data into the single most comprehensive annual report on the state of the rehab therapy industry.  This report features insights on everything from demographics and financial metrics to regulatory challenges …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Image

    webinarJun 1, 2018

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018

    Falling reimbursements. Skyrocketing insurance premiums and copays. Crippling student loan debt. As a PT, OT, or SLP, sometimes it feels like it’s you against the world. After all, the challenges you face on a daily basis are many and complex. But, you’re not alone. In fact, we recently surveyed nearly 7,000 rehab therapy professionals on everything from payment rates and clinic budgets to education costs and salary, and we found some pretty strong—and surprising—trends. [video://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/eh5khgt1r6]   Curious …

  • Ditch the Carrots and Sticks: 4 Ways to Motivate Your Patients Image

    articleMay 25, 2018 | 4 min. read

    Ditch the Carrots and Sticks: 4 Ways to Motivate Your Patients

    For most patients, physical therapy takes a long time—much longer than many other types of care. Improvements happen slowly, and progress isn’t always immediately noticeable. So, how do you keep patients engaged enough to continue working hard—inside and outside of the clinic—when they start to question the effectiveness of your treatment? Well, you ditch the carrots and sticks in favor of motivation techniques that really work. Here are four strategies you can implement today to better motivate …

  • 4 Subtle Ways You're Killing the Patient Experience Image

    articleJun 22, 2018 | 6 min. read

    4 Subtle Ways You're Killing the Patient Experience

    A positive patient experience is essential for instilling confidence and security in your patients—and for sustaining a healthy practice. When patients feel rushed, dismissed, or expendable, they’ll often drop out prematurely —and possibly seek care from a different PT (or move on to a whole other discipline). With that in mind, here are some of the common ways you’re subtly sabotaging the patient experience that you work so hard to create in your practice: 1. Providing a …

  • Everything I Wish I’d Known Before Opening My PT Practice Image

    articleJul 30, 2018 | 18 min. read

    Everything I Wish I’d Known Before Opening My PT Practice

    A little more than three years ago, Kaci Monroe realized her dream of opening her own physical therapy private practice (to learn more about Kaci’s entrepreneurial journey, check out this blog post ). Since then, she’s grown her small, Bigfork, Montana-based clinic into a very successful—and very busy—operation. So busy, in fact, that she decided to open a second location this past year. Oh, and she also remodeled a house, had a baby, and sped her way …

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