If you don’t measure it, you cannot improve it. For a long time, as our business was growing, we operated by feel. And we “felt” we were doing a good job. Once we started tracking our physical therapy outcomes, though, we finally knew. We found out that we were doing a good job—in some areas. In other areas, we found out that we needed more work. The main point is that we were flying blind until we went all in with outcomes tracking.
The Importance of Technology
We started using WebPT as our EMR system about six years ago because they helped us to efficiently handle all of the documentation demands; generate clean bills; and maintain compliance with ever-changing insurance regulations. And now, they’ve embedded an incredible outcomes tracking tool that allows us to easily compare our data against national averages.
The Competitive Advantage of Comparative Data
The functionality of WebPT Outcomes is incredible. We have 13 outpatient PT offices, and we are now measuring our outcomes as a company against the outcomes of the nation. Each clinic gets a report card and a ranking against the more than 1,200 clinics around the country that are collecting data through this database. We use our strong ranking as a marketing tool when we meet with referring physicians, as it illuminates to them the fact that their outcomes will be significantly better (statistically and subjectively) when their patients come to our company versus the competition.
We are now able to identify our strongest clinicians for certain areas of the body or diagnoses. We can also identify which clinics or clinicians are struggling. Using this data, we are able to pair up clinicians who need work with those who are strong in that area of need. As a result, our clinical product has been strengthened greatly.
The Power of Patient Engagement
WebPT Outcomes also allows us to conveniently track what our patients are saying about the service they receive at our clinics. We know their level of satisfaction, how much they feel that they have improved, and how they feel they have done with achieving their goals. By stacking this information against national averages — and coupling it with clinical outcomes data — we’ve been very effective in negotiating with payers and marketing to referral sources.
WebPT Outcomes, specifically, has played a huge role in our success with outcomes tracking. The ease of data collection and simplicity of parsing through the data has helped us improve our clinical and service product while better managing our business. WebPT has done it again: with the addition of this outcomes platform, they’ve made their invaluable EMR system absolutely irreplaceable. We could not live without this functionality at this point — and you shouldn’t either.
Mike Manzo, PT, MPT, is the owner of Atlantic Physical Therapy Center.