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10 Ways Technology Can Improve Your PT Practice’s Efficiency

Though technology cannot replace PT staff, it can significantly alleviate pressure on existing therapists to elevate patient care—all while boosting practice productivity.

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10 Ways Technology Can Improve Your PT Practice’s Efficiency

Throughout the ongoing physical therapist shortage, many clinics have faced the dilemma of maintaining increasing workloads without being able to increase their workforce- often to the detriment of practice efficiency, patient care, and employee satisfaction. Though technology cannot replace PT staff, it can significantly alleviate pressure on existing therapists to elevate patient care—all while boosting practice productivity.

Importance of Managing Workloads Effectively

A workload refers to the total number of tasks a physical therapist must complete within a certain timeframe, such as a standard shift. With as many as 49,000 open PT positions required to meet ongoing patient demand in the U.S., the typical physical therapist has faced double or even triple the normal workload as there are fewer staff members to help share the current patient caseload.

With a reduced staff and an influx of patients, managing workload has become increasingly difficult in PT practices. However, a manageable workload is imperative to keep a PT practice effective. There are only so many tasks one therapist can complete without ruining a positive work-life balance or, worse, negatively impacting patient care. Workload management helps to distribute tasks among current staff as fairly, productively, and healthily as possible, so a practice remains efficient.

3 Workload Management Strategies

Managing workload effectively relies on strategies that encompass staff time, skills, and preferred methods of communication. As each therapist works as part of a team, workload management strategies must consider the bandwidth and ability of each staff member. Here are three workload management strategies necessary for managing workload effectively.

1. Implement Time-Tracking Software

From productivity to profitability, many factors play into practice management. Time-tracking is one of the most innovative staffing solutions to understand better how and when your PTs are completing tasks and at what hours they hit their most productive stride. This software can also help therapists practice accountability for individual time management, a pillar of physical therapy core values.

2. Focus on Each Therapist's Strengths

Though time-tracking software can reveal which hours a therapist is most productive, it can also discover each therapist's unique strengths. While some PTs may excel in documentation and billing, others may shine with extraordinary bedside manner. When managing workload effectively, be sure to motivate your PT staff by delegating work based on their individual strength.

3. Streamline Employee Communication

Physical exhaustion and burnout are two natural consequences of maintaining too heavy of a workload. The best way to navigate your PTs' heavier schedules is to uphold consistent communication channels. Not only can communication software allow a PT to speak up when feeling overwhelmed, but it can also limit compliance errors and other issues contributing to negative emotions at work.

10 Technology-Based Innovative Physical Therapy Office Solutions

Workload management strategies often share one throughline for managing workload effectively: technology-based innovative physical therapy office solutions. From touchless check-in software and automated appointment reminders to innovative staffing solutions, here are ten ways technology can reduce staffing needs and workload to improve overall practice efficiency.

1. Touchless Check-In and Screening

Touchless check-in and screening processes were some of the first considerations for physical therapy clinics made by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis to keep staff and fellow patients safe. Fortunately, these solutions can also automate and simplify the check-in process to alleviate staffing needs at the front desk.

2. Automatic PT Appointment Reminders

The front desk is a high-traffic area for patients to make payments, make queries about appointment dates, and uphold similar administrative tasks. As such, the front desk must remain fully staffed to maintain peak efficiency. Fortunately, automatic PT appointment reminders can alert patients to upcoming appointments in place of a staff member making that call to reduce the front desk workload significantly.

3. Enhanced Home Exercise Programs (HEPs)

Home exercise programs (HEPs) are a method to engage patients in their care and encourage positive functional outcomes, all from the comfort of a patient's home. Physical therapy HEP software enables PTs to quickly build a HEP by selecting from a catalog of thousands of exercises, complete with helpful pictures and videos. Programs can be easily shared with patients via email to enhance the patient experience with the minimal additional effort required from staff members.

4. Better Track Patient Diagnosis Codes & Reports

The benefit of an electronic medical record (EMR) system is that it can house all patient diagnosis codes and reports in one place while remaining HIPAA and payer compliant. Physical therapy EMR technology is a must to drastically streamline documentation in the PT workload, with alerts, notifications, reporting systems, and even built-in e-fax for more effective practice.

5. Drive Your PT Office Marketing

Maintaining communication with your patients is a time-consuming process that’s essential to the health of the patient experience. Save time on patient engagement with PT engagement and marketing software that can help you keep in touch with patients at key times throughout their episode of care, as well as automate the online review process.

6. Get Paid Faster by Tracking Billables, Claims, & Receivables

Between billables, claims, and receivables, receiving payment for services rendered can quickly become a monstrous task that current staff shortages only make more difficult. Physical therapy billing software can limit finance-based workload with cutting-edge features like built-in code and claim scrubbing, simultaneous billing and scheduling modules, and comprehensive reporting tools.

7. Customizable PT Note & Form Templates

No one understands managing workload at your PT practice quite like you and your staff. Customizable PT note and form templates revolutionize documentation within PT practices, with specifically tailored evaluations, SOAPs, flowsheets, progress notes, and treatment plans that best match the workflow at your PT clinic to enhance effectiveness and daily productivity.

8. Virtual Communication with Patients & Internal PT Staff

Communication is a time-consuming, albeit necessary, element of PT operations. Physical therapy communication technology accounts for the nuances in internal and external healthcare communications for a secure, simplified method of virtual communication. Staff can securely message with both staff and patients to improve patient care and finetune operations.

9. Color Code Your Online Appointment Scheduling with Ease

Online appointment scheduling allows for easy scheduling for multiple practice locations, limiting the administrative workload for front desk staff. Dedicated physical therapy scheduling software enables practices to color-code daily schedules to better understand current and ongoing staffing needs and delegate patient caseloads to PTs.

10. Fully Integrate Your Waitlist

There's nothing worse than delegating workload based on upcoming appointments, just for a no-show to affect the schedule. Technology-based PT office solutions integrate patient waitlists into scheduling efforts such that individuals on the waitlist can be fast-tracked for an appointment when another patient cancels. In this way, your workload can always consider your waitlist.

Bottom Line: Physical Therapy Technology Has Never Been Easier

With touchless check-in, online appointment scheduling, and innovative staffing solutions on the rise, it's never been easier to manage workload effectively than with physical therapy technology. MWTherapy offers an entire suite of web-based PT software to make the current patient caseload more manageable and enable physical therapists to maintain optimal practice efficiency.

Schedule a demo to learn how technology can advance your PT practice today.

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