Never mind the “New Year, New You” mantra – physical therapists are facing an entirely new normal when it comes to their private practice and, without making the right moves in this time of transition, you’ll face unnecessary difficulties as you start or expand your business.
As the leaders in practice management solutions, MEG is recommending 3 tactical moves by physical therapy owners in February 2021. These actionable steps are a result of our study and assessment of numerous practice owners who progressed through the various stages of practice development from startup to scaling to finally expansion.
3 Tactics to Improve Your Physical Therapy Practice in 2021
1. Change the Way You Pay Staff
First of all, we recommend you stop exchanging time for money with your employees.
With 2021 being the great reset year, this is the perfect time for you to make all the necessary changes to enhance your company culture now and into the future. Staff morale is directly related to pride in their work, which manifests itself in productivity and a sense of purpose. It’s not sustainable to keep doing business the same way we’ve done it for the last 50 years – change is necessary.
With payroll and benefits consuming the largest portion of a practice owner’s expenses – while, at the same time, the owner is experiencing reduced reimbursement from commercial payers and Medicare – you must take every step possible to engage your staff in a “pay for performance” model.
What is a Pay for Performance Model?
Simply put, this reduces an employee’s base pay and introduces a sliding scale of performance pay. We recommend basing that performance as it relates to your private practice on 3 key elements:
- Efficiency (This is based on the percentage of open slots filled)
- Production (This measures the amount of care delivered per patient)
- Quality (This is reflected by the NPS score from their patients)
When you add a Pay for Performance Model to your physical therapy clinic, the benefits pay out on both sides. It allows the “Go-Getter” PTs in your practice to maximize their earning potential by getting compensated for their increased efforts. Plus, employers now have the ability to focus on recruiting staff who will own their role within the practice, taking on the responsibility for keeping patients compliant to their plan of care and playing an active role in marketing to help the business grow.
2. “Outsource” Your Staff Training
The most agile, successful private practices we work with are using Learning Management Systems to hit the ground running as part of their physical therapy startup or expansion plan.
Physical therapy owners should – surprise, surprise – use a PT-specific Learning Management System or service to “outsource” the onboarding and training necessary to professionally enhance their staff. By outsource, we’re implying that this no longer becomes a hands-on activity for the owner. You’re exchanging time for productivity – which frees you up to stay focused on the business while resting easy knowing your staff is receiving the robust, professional training necessary to improve the patient experience within your practice.
We love the LMS model because it provides consistency and ensures that everything gets covered. For example, a new hire onboarding should include training on what it takes to be a strong employee. This includes a solid understanding of brand identity by reviewing policy & procedure manuals, company vision and mission, etc. It can be used to refine communication skills, explain how to resolve conflicts and even introduce the concept of exchange we mentioned earlier – i.e. you’re getting paid to produce a product vs. getting paid to work an amount of time.
This training must cater to the specific post your employee will fill.
We recommend unique onboarding experiences for these key physical therapy posts:
- Front Desk Coordinator
- Physical Therapist
- Patient Care Rep
- Marketing Coordinator
In the end, this virtual training should be an ongoing practice. Your continuing education programs can provide various elements of professional enhancement (ie. skills and certifications developed after initial onboarding like leadership development, marketing programs, equipment training, etc.)
3. Open the Digital Doorway for Patients
Are your digital marketing assets operating like a glorified business card or as your hardest working salesperson?
Despite the fact that your website, for instance, is the first place your patients are likely to begin your brand experience, too many physical therapy owners consider it an expense rather than investment to put their best marketing foot forward.
We recommend making sure your website solves for these key functions:
- Your website should reflect your brand – in terms of messaging, design and simplicity – it should be as easy to work with you as it is to use your website.
- Your website’s User Experience (UX) should be based on the current visitor behavior best practices and evaluated often to ensure it’s getting the job done.
- Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy must be in place using on-page and technical SEO best practices, as well as following a keyword strategy for your content to help it rank well with search engines.
- Your website should motivate action that converts leads. Too often, websites lack a natural conversion path – in other words, how are you getting visitors to take action on your website? (ie. filling out forms, clicking for more information, starting a chat, booking an appointment, etc.)
In the same way, your website should serve up a content marketing strategy that produces helpful, optimized content for your potential patients. This is based on the keyword strategy mentioned earlier, but can also take direction based on an audit of the competition’s content as well.
We find it’s best to get started with consistent blogging around your specialties and products and eventually move into creating guides, infographics or eBooks that provide even more information and can be “gated” on your website so that visitors must complete a form to receive them. This content can be leveraged on the website, via social media and as assets for your sales and marketing team as you look to engage current or potential patients.
Finally, any local private practice should be diligently managing their online presence and reputation. Beyond just ensuring that you’re on the appropriate directory listings like Google My Business or Yelp, it also means monitoring your reviews and responding accordingly. The modern patient will be certain to check these reviews and your social media before stepping foot into your practice.
BONUS TIP – Don’t Do It By Yourself!
In these three ways, physical therapy owners can greatly improve their clinic’s efficiency, productivity and visibility with minimal effort and maximum outcome. And there’s very little stopping you from starting the process today!
Take it from Brian Gallagher, PT, the founder of MEG:
“In 2003, I put my head in my hands and realized I’d pay anyone anything if they could come in here and show me how to do things right the first time. For too many of us owners, it’s the lack of certainty that haunts us and forces us to choose to do nothing out of the fear of making a mistake. Well, now you can have confidence in MEG that we’re here for the sole purpose of helping you to live your dream of successful practice ownership. All you need to know is exactly where you want to go and that you’re big enough not to let time or money get in your way – then, you too can live the life of an owner that you’ve always dreamed.”
To learn more about the comprehensive virtual training systems, coaching and physical therapy solutions that will drive your practice forward in 2021, schedule a quick practice assessment with our specialists and start building the business of your dreams.