Blog Post

What is Patient Relationship Management (PRM), and Why Does It Matter?

Patient relationship management is a must-have for rehab therapy practices of all sizes. So, what is it anyway? Click here to learn more.

Kylie McKee
5 min read
March 16, 2018
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Imagine a world with one simple solution that attracts new patients, prevents patient dropout, and delivers better health outcomes. Sounds too good to be true, right? But, a new movement in the rehab therapy sphere is making this dream a reality: it’s called patient relationship management (PRM). If you haven’t boarded the PRM train just yet, there’s no time like the present to make it an integral part of your clinic’s business strategy. But first, let’s cover some PRM essentials and explain why it should be on every provider’s radar:

What is patient relationship management?

Simply put, patient relationship management (PRM) is a system that accounts for a patient’s entire care journey and helps shepherd him or her from new referral to raving fan. So, why is this important? Well, when it comes to increasing revenue, it seems like the number-one question on providers’ and practice owners’ minds is, “How can I get more patients?” It’s a fair question, and that is certainly one way to boost your practice’s earning power. But in truth, your total number of patients is only one factor that influences your overall income.

There are three main factors that go into determining a particular clinic’s revenue:

  1. the total number of patients treated,
  2. the average payment per visit, and
  3. the average number of visits per patient.

That means keeping patients in therapy is just as important as getting them there in the first place—or, for that matter, following billing best practices. (Plus, patients who consistently attend appointments are a more reliable source of income than new patient referrals, because your practice’s referral rate is prone to fluctuation.) As a result, more and more practices are shifting their focus to preventing patient attrition in order to maintain a steady cash flow.

When leveraged appropriately, PRM helps practices cultivate patient evangelists—loyal customers who love your clinic and will sing its praises to anyone who’ll listen. And while every business—including your practice—creates evangelists organically, there are systems you can put in place to help make every single one of your customers into a loyalist. And that’s where a comprehensive PRM platform like WebPT Reach can make all the difference.

There’s a difference between PRM and patient engagement.

You’ve likely heard the term “patient engagement”—it’s become a buzzword in the rehab therapy industry, and there’s definitely a reason for that. Patient engagement refers to a patient’s level of interest, participation, and buy-in throughout therapy. Patient relationship management, on the other hand, is a means to increase and nurture patient engagement by facilitating meaningful patient-provider interactions.

Why does it matter?

It helps patients take an active role in their therapy care.

One function of PRM is sending patients targeted messaging with content that’s relevant to their condition or treatment. By providing patients with these resources, you can re-emphasize the importance of their active participation throughout therapy and give them the tools necessary to do so—like educational content and interactive home exercise programs. This level of engagement helps patients stick with therapy—which, in turn, results in better health outcomes.

It creates a great patient experience.

These days, patients have plenty of options for therapy care providers. So, if they’re not happy with their therapy experience, they can easily switch to someone new. And that happens far more often than you might think.

According to a survey conducted by the Altarum Institute, a staggering 58% of patients changed providers because they weren’t satisfied with the treatment or service they received from their current providers. When you up your engagement game, though, you can better retain patients by ensuring their experience is top notch and highly engaging. Plus, with a PRM platform like WebPT Reach, you can track the patient experience throughout the entire plan of care by surveying patients at regular intervals—and taking meaningful action based on the feedback you receive.

It helps you take control of your online reputation.

You can also leverage patient satisfaction data to help you:

  1. identify your most loyal patients, and
  2. tap them for online feedback.

After all, your loyal patients will be the most willing to leave positive reviews. And when they do, you’ll not only improve your clinic’s online reputation, but also boost your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs)—thus attracting new patients to your practice. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Software Advice found that 84% of patients use online reviews to research physicians, and 77% start their search for a new provider by reading online reviews.

When it comes to increasing patient engagement and keeping your clinic financially sound, there’s no better solution than patient relationship management—especially when you use a therapy-specific PRM software like WebPT Reach. Is PRM part of your clinic’s strategy? What kind of results have you seen? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!


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