Whether you’re just starting your PT clinic or you’ve been operating for decades, it’s important to continuously be thinking about the future of your practice.
The physical therapy industry is undergoing rapid change, especially in the post-pandemic era. To succeed in this evolving landscape, PT practice owners must be prepared for technological advancements in business operations and patient care. So, here are our key projections for the future of physical therapy with practical solutions that can be implemented to scale your PT practice.
Start Optimizing for the Future of Your PT Clinic, NOW
Over the years, we’ve talked to many PT clinic owners about their challenges. Mainly, it revolves around administrative burdens, staffing and burnout. These obstacles can prevent your clinic from being productive and take the focus away from patient care.
One of our clients, Stephanie Roberts from Peak Physical Therapy, shared her ownership experience with us,
“I was trying to do all the jobs, which meant I was getting backed up on the stuff that I really needed to be doing, because I was trying to work the front desk as well. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of putting out an ad and interviewing and training yet another [front desk] person.”
Doing everything yourself, like Stephanie in the beginning of her practice, is a recipe for overwhelm and exhaustion. It can also slow your growth and prevent you from scaling your practice.
From our experience with private practice coaching and working with hundreds of PT business owners, the modern-day clinic should incorporate these five features into their business model:
- Outsourced non-clinical experience
- Telehealth services
- Utilization of AI and automated workflows
- Gamified treatment plans
- Use of innovative PT technologies
These shifts to your PT clinic can streamline operations, reduce administrative burdens and improve patient programs enabling you to maximize your time and focus on what matters most: delivering exceptional patient outcomes.
Let’s explore each of these technological advancements in more detail.
Outsource the Non-Clinical Patient Experience
Administrative tasks can be time-consuming and frustrating to handle on a day-to-day basis. By outsourcing tasks, such as appointment scheduling, billing and insurance verification, you can free up valuable time and resources.
MEG offers a variety of services to manage the “front door” of your practice (whether that’s online or in clinic) as well as the administrative backend of your business.
MEG’s virtual front desk support creates a next-gen, innovative feel for patients entering your business. Instead of hiring a staff member that you have to train, our knowledgeable virtual receptionists will act as the representative for your business. They will take phone calls, book appointments, verify insurance and even greet clients when they come into your clinic through a screen. By offloading these responsibilities, you can streamline operations and ensure a smoother workflow for your clinic.
After being fed up with a revolving door of front desk staff, Stephanie Roberts decided to test out our virtual front desk at her PT clinic. She shared her experience,
“I think we’re doing better at collecting co-pays upfront than how we were [in the past], and the virtual front desk has been really helpful in trying to clear up some of that older [admin] that needs to be taken care of.”
In addition to virtual reception, MEG can also help you outsource other tasks in your business such as physical therapy billing and website development. Outsourcing these tasks not only improves efficiency but also enhances the patient experience, ensuring smooth communication and streamlined operations.
Leveraging Tele-health Services
The emergence of tele-health has revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered, and physical therapy is no exception. Telehealth allows you to provide remote consultations and monitor patients’ progress from the comfort of their homes. Although limitations around tele-health now exist due to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will still be an integral part of the modern PT clinic.
Here are a few ways PT clinics can utilize tele-health:
PT clinics can conduct virtual appointments with their patients using video conferencing platforms. During these visits, therapists can assess patient progress, provide guidance on exercises and provide real-time advice on managing pain or injuries. This can be particularly beneficial for patients in remote areas or those with limited mobility who are unable to travel.
Home Exercise Programs
PTs can create personalized home exercise programs for their patients and use tele-health to demonstrate and guide patients through the exercises via live video calls or through a virtual library of videos.
With the help of wearable devices or remote monitoring tools, PT clinics can remotely track their patients’ vital signs, movement patterns, or adherence to exercise regimens. This data can be shared with PTs through tele-health platforms, enabling them to assess progress and make necessary adjustments to treatment plans.
Utilizing AI and Automated Workflows
Even though artificial intelligence (AI) technology may just seem like a trendy buzzword right now, it can be a useful tool for PTs if properly implemented. Similarly, automation can also help you streamline your operation without sacrificing the human component of PT care.
Here are some examples of how PT clinics can utilize AI and automation to enhance their operations and patient care:
Automated Appointment Scheduling
AI-powered systems can handle appointment scheduling, allowing patients to book their appointments online. These systems can analyze clinic schedules, availability, and patient preferences to optimize appointment slots, reducing administrative burden and improving efficiency.
AI-powered chatbots on your clinic’s website can provide instant support and answer frequently asked questions. They can assist patients with inquiries about clinic services, appointment rescheduling and basic treatment information, improving patient experience and reducing staff workload.
Research and Evidence-Based Practice
AI can support PT clinics in conducting research and analyzing vast amounts of medical literature. AI algorithms can help you summarize research findings and provide you with insights to support evidence-based practice in your clinic.
Patient Onboarding and Education
Automating the patient onboarding process can streamline paperwork completion and ensure that patients receive important information before their first appointment. Additionally, PTs can use automation to deliver educational materials, exercise programs, and progress updates to patients, empowering them to take an active role in their recovery.
Automation can simplify patient communication by sending automated appointment reminders, follow-up messages and educational materials. This helps keep patients engaged and informed throughout their treatment journey.
By incorporating AI and automation into your clinic, you can enhance efficiency, reduce human error and improve decision-making.
Gamifying Your Physical Therapy Treatment Plans with VR
Virtual reality (VR) technology has gained traction in the physical therapy field for its ability to engage patients and enhance their treatment experience. By creating interactive and immersive environments, VR can make therapy sessions more enjoyable by turning traditional exercises into games and motivates patients to actively participate in their rehabilitation for long-term recovery.
VR can assist with balance training, gait retraining and other therapeutic exercises. It provides real-time feedback, tracks progress and adds an element of fun and gamification to the treatment process.
There is also evidence that it improves patient outcomes. According to a 2019 study involving 28 patients with Parkinson’s disease, patients who received VR rehabilitation exhibited considerable progress in balance and gait compared to those who received traditional therapy.
From a business standpoint, VR technology is an innovative way to differentiate your PT practice and your patients’ treatment plans.
Other Uses of Innovative PT Technologies
Beyond tele-health and VR, there are a variety of other PT devices available that can directly affect patient outcomes.
Here are a few examples of technology we’ve seen in tech-forward clinics:
Activity trackers, posture monitors and smart garments can monitor patients’ vital signs and track movement patterns providing valuable data to physical therapists. Wearable devices allow them to set appropriate goals and adjust treatment plans during the rehabilitation process.
Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
Modern motion capture technologies like Kinotek can provide PTs with sophisticated algorithms to create detailed assessments of patients’ movement patterns and biomechanics. This data can then be used to tailor personalized treatment plans and track progress over time
Advances in neuromuscular reeducation with e-stim devices like the NEUBIE give PTs a competitive edge by identifying and treating a patient’s neurological functions so they can heal and recover faster.
Scaling Your PT Practice by Embracing the Future
By incorporating these technologies and operational shifts to your PT clinic, you can increase efficiency, enhance patient care and position your practice for long-term success.
Since the future of physical therapy is evolving rapidly, it’s crucial for PT clinic owners to stay ahead of the curve. By outsourcing administrative tasks, embracing tele-health, utilizing AI and automation, gamifying treatment plans with VR and incorporating innovative PT technologies, you can optimize your business, improve patient outcomes and maximize your time as a clinic owner.
If you’re ready to embrace the future of physical therapy and streamline your clinic operations, check out the cutting-edge services MEG offers practice owners.