Blog Post

The Ideal Practice Experience: Where Provider and Patient Expectations Intersect FAQs

In this FAQ, we’re delving further into how practices today can work to meet changing patient and provider expectations.

Mike Willee
5 min read
February 29, 2024
A road converging on provider and patient expectations answering questions from the webinar.
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Helping patients heal may be rehab therapy’s primary focus—but keeping people happy is quickly becoming a close second. In 2024, providing the ideal practice experience is paramount to retaining your patients and providers—which is why we hosted a webinar with Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of WebPT, and Michelle Babcock, PT, MSPT, Chief Experience Officer at Spooner on just that topic. 

The duo discussed how you can take the pulse of the people interacting with your practice regularly and tackled viewer questions on the best ways to collect—and act on—that critical data. Of course, there were more questions than what our hosts could get to, so we’ve collected some provider and patient expectations FAQs here to provide the answers you’re looking for on meeting provider and patient expectations.   

Hiring and Retaining Employees

Do you use any hybrid compensation packages for employee retention? Is it a one-size-fits-all approach, or do you have multiple options for employees to choose from?

If you’re considering alternative compensation options for your practice, talking with your staff and providers is probably a good idea. You want to know what options they’re interested in, rather than taking a top-down approach. There’s probably not a single approach that will please everyone, especially as the number of providers and locations increases; at the same time, it’s not practical to create an entirely a la carte approach to pay. The key is finding a middle ground that offers more flexibility to employees while remaining manageable for the practice.    

Engaging with Patients

How do you get the geriatric population up to speed with completing online scheduling, registration, intake form completion, etc.?

This question generated some differing opinions in the comments; while some are aligned with the thinking behind this question that older patients need more help using some of the technology regularly employed in practices, others were insistent that, with some basic instruction, geriatric patients would quickly get the hang of online scheduling and more.

Maybe the best answer is to rethink provider and patient expectations around what older patients both want and are capable of in accessing healthcare. Give your patients options—like the option between online scheduling and calling your front desk to book an appointment or between digital patient intake and the old-fashioned clipboard and paper forms. Ideally, you’d like everyone to choose the digital options for convenience, but ultimately it’s about making every patient comfortable in your practice. If your geriatric patients are game to give online scheduling and other digital forms a go, have staff ready to help walk them through the process patiently as many times as needed.  

Can you elaborate on the DiSC profile as a way to communicate? 

The DiSC model is an assessment tool that helps people better understand their personality types; more importantly, it allows teams and companies understand how their different personalities can interact more effectively. With a DiSC profile for each member of your team, you can tailor your communication to align with 

If you’re considering whether to use DiSC in your practice, you can check out this article about the different DiSC styles to see what you could learn about your team, and this blog featuring tips on how to communicate with different DiSC personality types. 

Leveraging NPS Surveys

How much engagement do you see with surveys themselves? Are most patients filling them out?

If you’re not getting an overwhelming response to your NPS surveys, you don’t necessarily need to hit the panic button quite yet. While most companies hope for a response rate somewhere around 30%, the actual number can vary by industry. That said, as a profession that spends as much face-to-face time with its “customers” as rehab therapy, it’s reasonable to hope for response rates that are closer to 50% or higher. 

If you’re struggling to get more responses, you can follow a few best practices to get more engagement:

  • Keep your NPS surveys short. If you’re asking more than two or three questions, you’ll get fewer replies. 
  • Make your messaging short and to the point, so that patients are clear about what you’re asking of them. 
  • Personalize the emails so that patients recognize the sender as another human.
  • Let patients know you’ll be seeking feedback ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to follow up if they haven’t responded.  

How much of NPS scores is tied to managing unrealistic expectations? 

Keeping provider and patient expectations at a reasonable level is an important part of treating patients, NPS surveys aside. Patient engagement is a challenge—particularly if a patient isn't on the same page with how long an episode of care might last or how difficult the recovery process might be. If you’re sitting down with a patient to discuss expectations so that they’re rightly satisfied with incremental progress rather than a quick, easy fix, that should be reflected in your NPS scores. 

Tackling Those Detractors

Do you find that healthcare literacy plays a role in whether or not a patient is a detractor?

Along the lines of the above question, education paired with managing patients’ expectations will play a huge role in how patients feel about the care they’ve received. As a provider, it’s your job to help educate patients on their condition and treatment options in terms they can fully understand, as well as the treatment you’re prescribing. That said, there are links between lower health literacy and lesser clinical outcomes, and a consistent but weak link between health literacy and dissatisfaction with primary care services.  

Dealing with Provider Documentation

Any suggestions on documentation when going home to a home office (i.e., mobile PT)?

Although the tendency is always there, waiting to document at home can result in some headaches down the road. That’s why we encourage point-of-service documentation. The more you document point-of-service, the more likely you are to remember everything you did and everything the patient said. Then, when you leave the patient’s home, you can close the door on that encounter. But, as we all know, fully completing a note in the presence of a patient is too often unrealistic. Hopefully, the EMR you are using is taking extra steps out of the process and leveraging some AI tools to complete your notes and check those boxes.

Rounding Out the Patient and Provider Experience

Hopefully, you’ve left this blog (and our webinar) better informed about how you can meet provider and patient expectations. If you want to know more about creating the ideal practice experience, take a look at our checklist that outlines a step-by-step process to a seamless patient visit. 


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