PT patients often deal with many physical, emotional, and psychological challenges when visiting a physical therapist. And nothing is worse than crummy service, barriers to entry, and a lobby that looks like a horror film (florescent lighting, anyone?).
So, how do physical therapists provide top-notch patient care at their PT practice?
In this article, you'll learn the most impactful patient care essentials you can implement immediately to help them feel at home.
In a world where instant gratification is the standard, it's easy to see how patients get frustrated if they can't easily access their PT. Staying ahead of the latest trends can help physical therapists give their patients an excellent care experience. Here are a few ways to make your patients' lives easier:
Providing the option to book an appointment online should be a standard across PT practices. Patients are thrilled when they can schedule visits and fill out time-consuming forms ahead of their appointment. Likewise, PTs can save time and move through visits quickly.
Missed appointments are bad all around. Patients don't want to postpone their recovery, and PTs don't want to reschedule. A simple appointment reminder can reduce cancellations and no-shows while taking the burden off the front desk staff to reschedule.
The recent adoption of telehealth services due to the pandemic has some staying power. Patients are more likely to request virtual care than ever before for their PT needs. Physical therapists who provide a robust telehealth program can help patients stick to PT regimes more efficiently.
Part of the patient care experience is ensuring they feel comfortable in your space. And if PTs want to make an outstanding first impression, they'll need to master a few digital, physical, and personal areas.
Hitting all three of these marks will significantly increase your patients' satisfaction and drive future word-of-mouth referrals.
When PTs are timely, patients are more likely to believe in their professional ability. If you want to boost patient satisfaction, be on time for appointments, phone calls, telehealth meetings, and everything else. Because if you're not—patients will notice.
Appointment reminders are only a tiny portion of the communication that happens between PTs and patients. Practices should connect with their patients before, during and after treatment to ensure they're recovering. While in-person communications and phone calls are the preferred methods, front desk staff can send follow-up emails, feedback surveys and automated reminders every step of the way to boost patient satisfaction.
Additionally, PTs should attempt to speak the language of their patients. Complicated physical therapy jargon can make patients feel overwhelmed, confused and embarrassed. PTs can improve their outcomes and make patients feel at home using easy-to-understand language.
Regardless of what type of physical therapy your practice provides, patients can often be confused about the next steps. Creating an educational pamphlet, online reading material, and offering other in-depth information can help set expectations.
Additionally, many patients are anxious or nervous about their injuries and the recovery process. A few minutes of in-person communication or recommending different resources can ease their worries.
Insurance is a tricky and confusing topic for both PTs and patients. Suppose you're offering partially out-of-network services; patients might find it challenging to speak with their insurance provider. The workaround is giving your patients a prompt to ask the right questions and get the information they need. Furthermore, PTs can fill out authorization paperwork if they'd like to go above and beyond.
When you help patients navigate complex insurance requirements, they'll feel comfortable seeking physical therapy services—even if it's out-of-network—because they're getting a level of service that extends beyond the realm of rehabilitation.
One of the best methods to understand the quality of care your patient is receiving is simply asking, "How are we doing?" There are many non-invasive ways to discover how patients view your practice, including sending them a survey after their session.
Ask them how likely they are to recommend your practice (Net promoter score) and give them a chance to air out any frustrations in a comment box. The front desk staff should also make regular calls to ensure patients receive high-quality care (with patient consent, of course).
Someone on the team should also be accountable for any social media accounts and review sites like Google My Business, Yelp or Zocdoc. Responding to patients who interact on these platforms is critical, especially if they leave a negative review. Attempt to reply to messages publicly and send them a private message to get more details about their experience. Find out what issues patients are having and have an honest discussion with staff to remedy the problem(s).
There isn't one specific thing you can do to provide better patient care—rather a culmination of improvements to help patients feel at home. Creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere and respecting your patients' time is critical. Furthermore, PTs will see better results when they communicate well and ask for patient feedback to make future visits more impactful.
Providing better care is all about making things easier for patients, but that can be difficult to achieve if you don't have the proper (or any) physical therapy software. Our comprehensive software solution automates practice management and gives you the tools to boost patient satisfaction, like a telehealth platform and customized home exercise programs.
If you'd like to learn more about what MWTherapy software can do for you, try our free demo and get started today!
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