Practice Experience Podcast: State of Rehab Therapy: Blind Spots in PT

This year’s State of Rehab Therapy report revealed some blind spots in physical therapy that our hosts tackled in this episode of The Practice Experience Podcast.

Ryan Giebel
5 min read
November 9, 2023
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This year’s State of Rehab Therapy report left the rehab therapy community with more than a few questions to ponder. Whether it was the ongoing gap in data collection and administrative harm facing clinicians or tackling what factors really matter to staff when it comes to retention, the report exposed a few blind spots in physical therapy worth addressing for the betterment of our industry. 

In this episode of The Practice Experience Podcast, Bre Krager, Senior Content Marketing Manager at WebPT, sat down with Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, Co-Founder and CCO at WebPT and Founder of Rizing Tide, and Kendell Jno-Finn, PT, DPT, owner of M3 Performance and Physical Therapy, to get real-world insights into the current state of rehab therapy and how we can tackle blind spots in the industry.

To elucidate where private practices can improve, the team raised questions about industry blind spots like: 

  • Does standardization of care diminish our value?
  • Does reliance on metrics hinder innovation?
  • Are salaries all that matter in employee retention?

Episode Highlights

On Finding a Purpose and Putting it in Action

Kendell: When we talk about blind spots and cover more of that today, that’s what led me to basically start everything [as a private practice PT] over and look at what I needed as an individual, what raw materials needed to be present in the environments and organizations I was part of to grow and then to help others grow. This has kind of become my passion and purpose in life.

On the Power of Conversation and Networking

Kendell: I think for me personally, it's walking away from those interactions [Graham Sessions and Ascend] knowing—and being reminded—that it's important to dream big. But it's also important to execute, and that's been awesome for me in terms of those interactions.

On the SImilarities between Standardization of Care and Toothpaste

Kendell: And so the same way people choose toothpaste, they're going to choose to come see you as a practitioner, but if none of their friends recommend you because you have bad outcomes, you're going to close.

Heidi: I'm going to pick up on your toothpaste analogy because I think it's a good one that people can relate to. You buy toothpaste because you don't want to have cavities, because your dentist told you to, and also it helps to make sure that you have a clean mouth...But at the end of the day, the reason that you go to buy toothpaste is because you want to care for your teeth. So there is a baseline of standardization that we should, as a profession, be held to. 

On Advocating for PT’s Value

Heidi: We're still not collecting the right information objectively to show our value outside of anecdotes. That means the value is being diminished as we speak, and we will never get the respect that we all want and deserve until we can objectively show others that value.

Kendell: I think you bring up a good point—we must think about pain points and payment. But to your point, we get paid the same. Why should we get paid less for doing a job better and more effectively than someone else? And that's where outcomes come in. That's where data comes in.

On Lost Opportunities to Improve Clinical Data and Financial Performance

Heidi: I'll just start off by saying that we don't learn this in school. WebPT has built a whole part of our brand value proposition around business education because even though you understand the value of doing an outcome, how do you use outcomes data that you're collecting in aggregate? What does that mean to you as a clinician? How can you improve? All of those things are not taught to us in school [from the business side].

Kendell: We've got a thing within our organization that we're going to learn. So every day, we win together, we learn together. But it's the idea that awareness drives action for us. We're not going to be aware of a million and one things. We're going to be aware of the things that lead us in the direction that we want to go.

On the Blind Spot of Salaries and Staff Retention

Kendell: Every therapist on our team has left a job with higher salaries. The one thing that is different for each one of them has been healthcare benefits. We are constantly evaluating that, and we want to make sure that we do as much of a 50/50 split as possible for our team. We're going to continue to do that because we are in the healthcare space, and it's kind of tough to say that "health is wealth" and you don't take care of your people.

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