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3 Ways To Measure Physical Therapist Productivity

Measuring productivity is a mix of science and art

Understanding physical therapist productivity metrics can be tricky. Some practices utilize statistics like no show and cancellation rates, evaluations completed, and how much revenue each physical therapist is generating over time.

But you won’t understand the real value of your physical therapists by relying solely on numbers.

The truth is that numbers are essential. However, you must take every variable into account when weighing the productivity of your team members. Each physical therapists’ attitude, mindset, and satisfaction of their patients is equally necessary when conducting performance reviews or providing feedback.

In this article, we’ll discuss a variety of physical therapist productivity metrics that you need to know when determining efficiency.

1. By The Numbers

There are several creative ways you can use numbers when mapping out a physical therapist’s performance metrics at your practice. They can help you understand overall profitability, productivity, and patient satisfaction. Pure statistical data also represents a common denominator in which you can differentiate the varied levels of competency of PTs on your payroll.

Here are some standard methods used to measure a PT’s productivity metrics by the numbers:

No Shows & Cancellations

When patients don’t show or cancel their appointment, it causes an assortment of problems.

Start by breaking down each physical therapist’s calendar. Take the number of missed appointments and divide it by the number of scheduled appointments. You’ll get a decimal that you can convert into their no-show percentage. Compare this percentage to other PTs in your practice.

Once established, be sure to set goals, give encouragement, and incentivize patient attendance.

Each percentage is invaluable when understanding the relationships your PTs have with their patients. And while sometimes they might not be doing anything wrong, they must be proactive in their efforts to ensure patients return for their treatment.

Your practice also plays an enormous role when encouraging patients to show up for their scheduled session. The number one reason people miss an appointment is that they “forget.” By having an effective appointment reminder system and fees for missing an appointment, you can significantly lower no-show and cancellation rates.

Patients Per Week

There isn’t a magical number of patients each physical therapist should see per week. The amount of patients seen per week varies based on the location, size, and the amount of staff employed. Physical therapists should be making the most out of the time they spend with each patient but moving efficiently from appointment to appointment with an ample amount of time in between for paperwork. 

Take into account this example; If John is burned out and receiving bad patient surveys, he probably needs to reduce his workload. On the contrary, if Sally doesn’t feel engaged, she should stock up her calendar. Everyone will have different thresholds of volume, and it’s important to respect that fact. But once you understand their limits, you can set realistic goals to measure actual productivity.

2. Attitude & Mindset

Attitude

Research in 245 studies and 48 different countries shows a neurological connection between happiness and productivity. Employees that are consistently positive were more efficient in all performance metrics – including productivity, creativity, and engagement.

So are your PTs happy? And do they spread joy throughout the office?

Attitude and mindset are paramount when assessing productivity, but the lines are blurred. Science and math can rarely measure these physical therapist productivity metrics in real-life work scenarios, but there’s no reason you can’t take notice. Physical therapists who engage with co-workers by inviting them out to lunch, helping them with tasks, and taking part in conversation are ten times more likely to be involved at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion.

Generally speaking, physical therapists who help their teammates, maintain a positive attitude and are friendly at work encourage powerful productivity waves that wash over the entire practice.

Mindset

Physical therapists with a “growth mindset” can be far more productive long term than those with a “fixed mindset.”

Psychology professor Carol Dweck conducted a series of studies concerning mindset choice with students enrolled in various levels of education. There were two types of students involved:

  1. Students who had a “fixed” mindset that preferred accomplishing tasks that weren’t outside of their skillset.
  2. Students with a “growth” or “expandable” mindset who wanted the challenge of new tasks regardless of their prior knowledge.

In one example, higher academic success at Stanford University was achieved by transfer students with a growth mindset because of their ability to overcome adversity. 

You can measure this productive mindset by taking notice when PTs take on challenging work, are positive when approaching fresh ideas, and not afraid to fail in front of their peers.

3. Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Patient satisfaction surveys are irreplaceable when exploring key productivity metrics. A staggering 70% of people who receive outpatient physical therapy don’t complete visits their insurance company have already authorized. 

Some patients will bailout the moment they start feeling better. Still, the quality of care and education they receive throughout treatment could mean the difference between seven visits and ten. For best results, administer these feedback forms after the patient has left the practice.

By comparing your staff’s satisfaction surveys, you can find a common ground of excellence, improvements for your practice as a whole, and individual areas of opportunity. 

Reach out to your patients if you have questions about the survey they left, especially if something was less than spectacular. And finally, bring satisfaction surveys to the table when conducting performance reviews. Your physical therapists deserve clear performance goals based on the outcomes of these surveys.

The Bottom Line

The key to measuring overall productivity is balance. 

Evaluations based in numbers don’t fully represent the actual value and efficiency of any one staff member. But combined with other tactics, they’re an irreplaceable tool when assessing productivity.

Leaders who build and sustain a diverse team that excels in an array of metrics boast better results. It’s essential to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your organization by applying these methods.

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