In an era where patients desire convenience and look to online reviews in choosing providers for their health services, measuring experience quality in physical therapy has never been more important for rehab practices. To that end, rehab therapy practices continue to look to technology to help improve patient quality of care and to build better relationships between patient and provider. In the 2023 State of Rehab Therapy report, patient relationship management software was the top tool rehab therapy leaders were looking to invest in over the next two years, and as customer service grows more important, adoption should only continue to grow.
In this episode of The Practice Experience Podcast, Michelle Babcock, MSPT, Chief Experience Officer at Spooner Physical Therapy, and Liz Heckmuller, DPT, Product Marketing Manager at WebPT, meet to discuss how Michelle and Spooner have put the patient experience at the forefront of practice and have successfully grown a thriving private practice.
In this episode, Michelle and Liz tackle subjects like:
- the Net Promoter Score® (NPS),
- the lifelong learning involved in the patient experience, and
- how company culture and employee experience affect patient satisfaction.
On the Patient Experience and Clinical Care
Michelle: We talk a lot about the art and the science of the patient experience. The art is about customer service, patient engagement, and the clinical environment, while the science is the clinical processes and outcomes of our therapists’ expertise and the patient experience.
On Measuring Experience Quality in PT
Michelle: We measure the patient experience via several methods along the patient’s journey. Foremost, we use Net Promoter Score as our overarching measurement of the patient experience. It's used across a lot of industries as the gold standard for measuring customer loyalty. For us, NPS is really looking at how loyal our customers are, or if our patients are raving fans. Has their experience been great enough that they're willing to tell their friends and their family and refer their community members to us?
On Optimizing the NPS Score
Michelle: Utilizing NPS consistently and finding ways to operationalize it in actionable ways optimizes its benefit. Just looking at the NPS number isn't good enough. Just like every other KPI that we measure, we look at our Net Promoter Score over time. We look at it at a company level, at a clinic level, at an individual therapist level—and all of that information is transparent.
On Receiving Patient Feedback
Michelle: As rehab therapists, we've all had to deal with bad Google reviews and we've all been the recipient of, let’s call it, constructive feedback. In these situations, the important thing is to take emotions out of it. Sometimes feedback can be emotionally-driven, but my job in the company is to ensure that, first and foremost, we're learning from every situation that we're in.
On Getting Staff Buy-in
Michelle: In our early training with new therapists, we introduce them to measuring experience quality in PT and all the things that go into the patient experience. Part of this is preparing them for a detractor and how to work through it as a team. Learning is the most important thing to remember. Learning how to connect better with patients, or learning how to improve our clinical and professional skills with the feedback that we're getting.
On Advice to Getting Started
Michelle: Using NPS and a digital system makes it easy, but if you're just starting a practice, you could make it paper or you could use any survey system. You want to ask that NPS question, “How likely would you be to refer a friend or a family member to your practice?” Start gathering the information, get the data, look at the comments, and start learning what your patients love about your practice and their interactions and where you could improve quality. And then the key is to do something about it. Turn the information into actionable work and you're going to see your patient experience scores get better and better.
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