For 30 years, Spooner Physical Therapy has been providing outpatient therapy services to patients in the Phoenix metro area. Working under the founding principle of “Health in Motion,” the Spooner PT team partners with their patients to restore healthy movement and function quickly and to each individual’s greatest potential. They offer physical therapy, hand therapy, and many other specialty services to meet the needs of their patients and community. When the company was founded in 1990—by Tim Spooner, PT, FAFS—it had one location in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today, therapist-owned Spooner PT has 23 clinics—where more than 100 therapists complete over 1,000 visits per day—across the metro area.
According to Michelle Babcock, PT, MSPT, OCS—Chief Experience Officer at Spooner PT—the biggest challenge the company was facing had to do with quantifying the patient experience: “We weren’t capturing experience in an objective, actionable way,” she said. However, it wasn’t until Babcock and the rest of the Spooner PT team learned about Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) tracking—a method for measuring patient engagement and loyalty—that they realized their current satisfaction surveys weren’t producing the actionable data they needed to make real improvements.
Babcock’s team was distributing patient satisfaction surveys after discharge, a common practice in many healthcare settings. However, she had a hunch that the data she was getting wasn’t truly representative of the experience her patients were having: “We always had a 98 to 99% satisfaction score, which was great, but I knew there were problems. I wondered how to really get to the heart of it,” she said. Without the proper tools, though, the Spooner PT team wasn’t able to identify unhappy patients—or act on patient feedback in a timely manner. “I knew there were patients who would simply stop coming to appointments because they gave feedback that our team wasn’t able to act upon in a timely, meaningful way,” Babcock said.
The team also saw potential for improvement in the area of automation: “We were sending 1,000 to 2,000 emails manually per clinic, per month, with evaluation paperwork,” Babcock said. “We saw an opportunity for a system that would allow us to more easily promote ourselves and make announcements [digitally].”
Tim Spooner—who serves as CEO of Spooner PT—was introduced to patient relationship management (PRM) software, WebPT Reach, by a fellow CEO who had experience with the product. Once Spooner PT started checking out Reach, the WebPT team visited the clinic to train the staff on the product. After meeting the WebPT Reach team, the Spooner PT team was sold: “Our therapists really responded to their presentation,” Babcock said. “Our team appreciated the peer perspective [the creators of WebPT Reach are DPTs] and their passion for patient experience.”
“The implementation of WebPT Reach helped us hone our focus on the individual experience of patients,” she said. “We’re now much more individualized in how we approach patient care.”
With the help of WebPT Reach, Babcock began the implementation process at all 20 clinics: “We mapped out our customer journey for the implementation and built the workflows around that,” she said. “Rolling out the NPS email automation was really easy and quick.” When it came time for the team to incorporate NPS into their workflows, Babcock built a process for evaluating and responding to feedback. “This gave me the opportunity to illustrate the value of NPS, define patient experience differently, and set expectations for the team,” she said. Patients now automatically receive NPS survey requests throughout their courses of care. According to Babcock, this was a particularly meaningful change: “The implementation of WebPT Reach helped us hone our focus on the individual experience of patients,” she said. “We’re now much more individualized in how we approach patient care.” By tracking the full patient experience in Reach, Spooner PT is now able to see which patients are dissatisfied in real-time based on their NPS responses.
Staff members can then address individual patient concerns immediately, identify trends, and work to keep patients engaged throughout their entire treatment plan. Since implementing WebPT Reach and using it to rebuild the patient experience tracking process, Spooner PT has been able to “identify problems before they get too big,” Babcock said.
“Reach is so ingrained in what we do every day; I could never go back to what we were doing before,” Babcock said. “It’s an important part of our daily processes.”
In addition to enabling the team to collect—and act upon—valuable feedback from patients, WebPT Reach also gave Spooner PT marketing automation capabilities it didn’t have before. In the past, the Spooner PT staff manually sent thousands of emails each month. Now, the system automates the process and patients receive their evaluation forms without anyone on the Spooner PT team having to lift a finger. Furthermore, when Spooner PT opens new clinics, the company uses the Reach platform to segment its audience and target communication to patients in the area where each clinic is located. “Reach is so ingrained in what we do every day; I could never go back to what we were doing before,” Babcock said. “It’s an important part of our daily processes.”
According to Babcock, the Spooner PT team has seen big benefits from adopting WebPT Reach. She initially implemented the product to measure the company’s NPS, which increased from 78 to 83 in one year—a true reflection of the positive change in patient experience. “Not only has the score gone up, but because of how we’re measuring patient loyalty and managing the feedback, patient experience is also getting better,” Babcock said. “With Reach, we’re able to capture experience data after the second visit, which helps our therapists engage patients differently.”
WebPT Reach has also helped Spooner PT better recognize and “celebrate therapists and clinics that are doing a fantastic job with patient experience,” Babcock said. “Tim Spooner always says, ‘if you’re having a bad day, go read the patient comments.’ We have overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients.”
This clear focus on patient engagement led to tangible financial results, too. Specifically, Spooner PT uses WebPT Reach to engage patients during active treatment and reactivate patients post-discharge. According to Babcock, this resulted in significant improvements to several key metrics:
- Patients attend 0.8 more visits.
- Reactivations (patients returning for treatment related to a new diagnosis) are up 9%.
- Complimentary screens are up 50%.
These improvements translate to an overall return on investment (ROI) of 11.91x with WebPT Reach.
WebPT Reach has also helped with Spooner PT’s local online rankings. The automated survey campaign has helped drive more traffic to Spooner PT’s local pages on Google, Facebook, and Yelp, thus building trust and authority locally. “Our Client Relations team has definitely noticed a big change in online traffic from reviews,” Babcock said. Reach has helped drive 609 Google reviews and 161 Facebook reviews to Spooner PT’s locations across the Phoenix metro area.
“Automating Net Promoter Score tracking through WebPT Reach has helped us dive deeper into all the areas we affect daily. We get honest feedback in real time, and that gives us the opportunity to make the experience better for everyone.”
Michelle Babcock PT, MSPT, OCS
Chief Experience Officer