Patients are searching for high-quality PTs who provide a suite of services specific to their needs because, let's face it—specializing in everything can often isolate patients looking for niche services. And while there are dozens of services PTs offer at cash-based or hybrid practices, digging into what people want in your area can unlock an entirely new segment of patients. Pair these services with skilled staff, and your practice could be a hit in your local market (i.e., "You should really go see my physical therapist, she's the only one qualified for dry needling in town!").So, which services can you add on to bring in more patients? Read on to discover the top 6 niche services every PT practice should consider.
A niche service becoming more common in physical therapy is dry needling. Dry needling is where plain needles that are "dry"—void of all medication or injection—are inserted into the muscle tissue along the body's meridian line. This method involves targeting myofascial "Trigger points," which are taut areas of skeletal muscle. Contrary to popular belief, dry needling and acupuncture are two different methods of therapy. Acupuncture focuses on restoring the proper energy flow and other physical ailments (e.g., digestive issues, insomnia, stress, etc.)Dry needling is used to restore normal function and treat chronic and acute pain without medication. Physical therapists can add this service to their regime for cash-based compensation. At the time of this article, there is no Medicare compensation for dry needling techniques. According to the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the effects of dry needling have been overwhelmingly positive from a placebo standpoint. However, no conclusive evidence of myofascial trigger point therapy's effectiveness is supported from clinical trials. Regardless, many patients are seeking restorative therapy without medication, and PT practice owners who expand their offering could drive more patient traffic by adding this service. Currently, the Dry Needling Certification costs roughly $795 and is offered by The Dry Needling Institute. However, PTs should be wary of state laws before seeking certification and practice.
While there are hundreds of gyms out there offering personal training and fitness classes, few can offer the benefits of having a qualified physical therapist providing instruction. In fact, many personal trainers can earn a certification in as little as three months. Patients enjoy the hands-on approach and expertise of a physical therapist—especially for high-stakes specialized sports training. Furthermore, these services integrate seamlessly with other offerings and boost patients' satisfaction rates, wellness, and physical fitness levels. From a revenue standpoint, it can also ensure patients stay within your ecosystem and finish their recovery.
PTs who offer aquatic therapy—exercises and treatments performed in the water—can pinpoint an entire niche market of patients who seek the robust benefits of this service, including:
Increased joint stability Patients are buoyant in the pool and can use their muscles without gravity working against their body weight. This ensures every exercise is low impact.
Enhanced muscle strength Appropriate for all strength levels, aquatic therapy can offer a therapeutic level of strength training without heavy weights.
Better balance. The abstract force of performing exercise in water can challenge patients' balance in a safe, practical environment.
While movement and therapy are important on the road to recovery, many patients need an extra push to reach their goals. Nutritional counseling can add another angle of care that directly impacts patients' bottom-line recovery efforts. And lucky enough for most PTs, they're seen as wellness and health advisors by most states. While this doesn't entitle PTs to call themselves "Nutritionists" or "Dieticians," it does allow PTs to give practical advice or supplementation suggestions. However, many PT practices are currently expanding their scope of influence with a state-qualified nutritionist(s) contributing to patient care. It's a good idea for PTs to check state-specific laws before advertising this service.
Telehealth rehabilitation used to lie on the fringes of physical therapy—only being used by PTs whose patients were technology savvy enough to schedule a virtual visit but not agile enough to make it in person. Nowadays, it's becoming less of a niche service and more of a staple of PT practices. Telehealth programs have seen a massive influx of interest, likely due to Medicare adoption. Patients who relied solely on telehealth during the pandemic are now believers in virtual care services. Any PT practice that can adopt telehealth will likely retain and attract more patients.
Due to the host of health conditions obesity is correlated with (e.g., cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), PTs who offer programs designed specifically for obesity can attract more patients. Obesity care requires a specialized program that encourages exercise, addresses dietary needs, and helps the patient remain accountable. It can also give the patient a safe space to talk about their weight loss goals. Clinics who feel unable to provide expert care can find additional courses (CEUs) online on weight loss.
While it's not a niche service PTs provide—at times, it feels like it. When it comes to billing, EMRs, communications and just about everything else PT practices need, it seems like having an all-in-one solution is becoming more complex. Instead of grabbing for multiple software programs or not using any, put practice management on autopilot with MWTherapy's PT management software. It gives patients the information they need to recover:
And practice owners what they need to manage:
PTs looking to expand their offerings should dig into niche services. Patients often seek more from their physical therapist—especially when paying out of pocket—like weight loss management, dry needling and nutritional counseling. Many of these services require small time requirements for the average PT who has already completed years of schooling. Additionally, all-in-one software solutions like MWTherapy can bolster daily performance across the board, making patients happier, healthier and more satisfied with the level of care they receive. Try a free demo today and see for yourself!
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