Robert Babb, PT, MBA, spent 12 years as the senior vice president of operations for a five-practice physical therapy organization. During his time there, he realized that too many PT practices—including his own—were still operating based on the medical model of care, which lacked emphasis on customer reach, customer satisfaction, and marketing. While most therapists spent their time developing relationships with physicians, few made any effort to do the same with their customers. Stories abounded of 30-minute wait times, initial evaluations without treatment, and a many other inefficient processes that left consumers less than enthusiastic about their therapy experiences.
After implementing many of the strategies he learned in business school (e.g., quality assurance, efficient service delivery, and clear organizational structure), Babb capitalized on an opportunity to start his own physical therapy business, acquiring a 5,000-square-foot facility and a slew of equipment from a large medical practice that had gone bankrupt. On April 29, 2002, the Physical Therapy & Wellness (PTW) Institute was born, founded on a promise of providing consumer-centric care.
Not only did the PTW team have to clean up the mess left by the bankrupt company—which included a hodge-podge of medical records, a mound of unpaid bills, and a building in need of serious repair—but they also started out using traditional paper charts to document. Initially, the team typed their own evaluations and hand-delivered each one to the appropriate referring physician. While this was a simple solution—“simple days, simple philosophy, simple delivery,” says Babb—it was far from efficient.
In January of 2012, the crew at PTW finally implemented an EMR that they thought would improve their efficiency and help them transition into the digital world. However, this was not the case. According to Babb, the new system turned out to be terribly inefficient, cumbersome, and difficult to navigate. Neither their therapists nor their patients were happy—and that was not okay. So, Babb took action.
After just 70 days with the faulty EMR, they called WebPT. With WebPT, PTW can now send initial evaluations within 24 hours of a patient’s first visit, which has greatly improved the timeliness of their information exchange. Additionally, WebPT allows the PTW staff to:
- Easily prepare for patients’ visits before they arrive
- Track referral sources
- Monitor clinic and therapist productivity
- View insurance limits, benefits, and case manager information on the patient’s dashboard
Today, the team at PTW is still learning new ways WebPT can help their business, including implementing automatic appointment reminders, built-in CCI edits, Medicare therapy threshold tracking, and billing features.
Babb has thoroughly enjoyed working with the WebPT staff: “They’re happy to do what they do—and the group as a whole has been responsive to our questions and needs.” According to Babb, WebPT also has worked some of his team’s suggestions into its frequent and automatic software upgrades.
“WebPT has made us leaner in our delivery of services and improved our communications with our referral sources. It’s provided us a platform on which to make every visit to PTW an experience that our customers remember.”
PT, MBAFounder and President