2021 is almost here. Where to?
Simple but effective methods of communication are incredibly relevant, now more than ever. New technology and advertising remain a focal point of the industry, and patients expect this ease of access. So, what does the future hold? And how will practice owners enhance their interaction with patients heading into the New Year?
In this article, we’ll discuss the most impactful new and existing trends—giving your practice the tools needed to boost meaningful communication into 2021.
1. Make Initial Contact Memorable
First impressions carry weight. If patients call your practice and hear a smile on the other side of the phone, you’ll probably end up answering more phone calls. People who need physical therapy are already in pain or unable to function at their maximum capacity. For this reason, going the extra mile during first impressions can set them at ease and even make administering therapy a more straightforward process.
Here are a few pointers to make initial contact memorable:
- Stay polite, helpful, and authentic when communicating on all platforms.
- Respect patients’ time
- Set realistic expectations
- Be responsive
An emphasis on friendly initial contact will not only bridge the gap of trust between patient and PT, but it will drive better results and encourage positive word of mouth opportunities.
2. Virtually Establish Your Business
It’s critical to establish or refine digital spaces when engaging in today’s physical therapy landscape. PTs are rushing to improve communications through mediums such as social media and website presence. The trend is carrying weight into the New Year, focusing on patient convenience and communication via digitization.
Not exactly a new way of conducting business, but more relevant than ever. Patients interact with thousands of PT websites daily by scheduling appointments, asking questions through email, and educating themselves on physical therapy benefits. Current webmasters should do a quick refresh to keep content relevant. And if you haven’t already, it’s time to explore setting up a physical therapy website.
Social Media Accounts
In 2019, according to the Pew Research Center, almost 72% of American adults used social media. A staggering 67% increase since 2005. The numbers indicate this is a trend with some staying power, especially going into 2021. By utilizing social media accounts, physical therapists are empowered and tend to interact with various people—building brand confidence and prospective patients in the process.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to set up your social media and connect with an audience of over 244 million U.S. profiles.
The most successful form of advertisement in 2020 needs no introduction. Online advertising is paramount to the success of physical therapists. The digital advertising trend hasn’t lost steam either as companies like Facebook make advertising campaigns a breeze by strengthening brand recognition, targeting an audience, and even analyzing campaign results. If you want to reach and engage with your audience, online advertisement is a surefire solution.
3. Leverage Technology to Engage Further With Patients
Fuel the modern patient experience by utilizing robust telehealth and software solutions.
People are raving about telehealth’s ability to contact their physical therapist from home and give video updates on recovery. According to a UT Southwestern Medical Center study, telehealth helped patients stay connected to PTs and even boasted better completion rates versus in-person visits.
Software solutions also play a formidable role in patient engagement. All-in-one physical therapy software includes useful features such as appointment reminders and in-house messaging. These enhancements ensure a practice never misses an engagement opportunity, even on the busiest day.
4. Remarket Your Practice
After treatment or recent digital interaction, a subtle message can prove positive to bring in additional traffic or set the tone for future visits. Practice owners can help patients stay in touch through informative newsletters, retargeted advertisements, and even follow-up quality checks.
By tapping into an existing patient base and marketing to prospective onlookers, physical therapists can learn, adjust, and adapt to their target market.
5. Educate Patients
When physical therapists take the time to educate their patients, therapy becomes more beneficial. The learning bug opens a discussion forum between patient and provider. When interacting together, trust is built, making outcomes brighter. Among these benefits, you’ll reduce uncomfortable communication down the road. Patients equipped with proper expectations, responsibilities, and outcomes can focus on taking action rather than apprehension.
There are many ways to implement continued patient education. Some of the more powerful mediums include starting a company blog, becoming active on social media, using telehealth platforms, and putting impactful information on the website. All of these are fantastic solutions to increase engagement, but nothing replaces in-person education.
6. Communicate Enough but Not so Much to Be Annoying
When communicating with patients, you must strike the right balance. Physical therapists who send out three emails, auto-generated texts, Facebook ads, and a flyer underneath the car windshield wiper on the same day aren’t driving patient engagement—they’re eliminating it. Patients are already bombarded with ads all day from popular companies trying to sell them shoes, vacations, and other commodities. Rehabilitation isn’t a commodity, but if patients lump PTs into the same categories prying for their attention, the industry as a whole is in big trouble.
On the other hand, communication is monumental to the success of a practice. If you haven’t established a presence on digital platforms, optimized the patient experience through feedback surveys, and advertised locally, you could be missing out. Furthermore, integrating educational content throughout these platforms will push engagement to the next level where patients are excited to be part of the process.
So, when going into the New Year, subscribe to the usual suspects of great communication strategy. But be mindful of scaling reasonably, don’t overdo it.
The Bottom Line
Following these methods will build a strong back and forth between patient and provider. By making a dynamic first impression, expanding digital reach, and utilizing the latest technology trends, physical therapists will blow the doors off patient engagement heading into the New year. Remember to keep communications flowing with an emphasis on education for best results.
If your practice wants to supercharge engagement and performance further, check out a free demo of MWTherapy’s powerful physical therapy software. It comes equipped with important engagement driving