5 REMOTE Tasks to Tackle for Your Physical Therapy Practice During COVID-19

If you've got staff with extra time during the COVID-19 and are trying to avoid layoffs, use this time to work on goals and make the most it.

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Make the most of the time

Virtually all practices are being impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. Many practices are working to implement telehealth and e-visits for patients to continue care to ensure patients continue to receive the care that they need. During this period, there may be some staff downtime and this blog post is about ways you can use this time to further objectives that may otherwise be lower on the list due to usually busy and bustling staff. This can help staff and patients stay engaged and help you move the ball forward. While there is great debate about when this pandemic may pass, there is consensus that it will pass. What you do now can help set up your practice to thrive going forward. These suggestions can all be ALL done remotely!

1. Work your insurance accounts receivable double-time

Get that cash flow going!

Almost all practices have some from of accounts receivable (A/R) from insurances. A/R is a normal way of life when it comes to insurances. Most practices also have a process to work down this A/R and follow up with insurances on a basis that makes sense for that insurance. Now is a good time to hit your insurance A/R hard. Leverage your billing system to get the information you need. Follow up with insurance aggressively to try and get payments moving.It's also a good time to revisit your A/R follow-up policy, in general and to see if it's working or if there is room for improvement and how that improvement may come about. It could be just tweaking the policy or seeing the need for more help in the future. It's important to note that no mention was made here of patient receivables. This is likely also a difficult time for some of your patients and probably not a good time to aggressively chase down patient A/R but only can decide that on a case-by-case basis. This is all phone work!

2. Write up a practice manual

Get your practice organized!

We've blogged in the past about the importance of documenting the process at your practice. This includes everything from the intake processes, to scheduling process and policies, to documentation, to billing out claims. Having a manual on hand makes your practice more resilient and creates a better environment for your staff. Expectations will be clearer and everyone will be on the same page.As you work through the process, look for opportunities to improve and key-performance-indicators (KPIs) that could align with that aspect of your practice.

3. Cross-train staff and be ready to collaborate

Create built-in redundancy and become more resilient!

While staff have downtime, one question to ask is if staff can be cross-trained to perform other functions.

  • Can a therapist be trained to cover the front desk?
  • Can a front desk person be trained to do basic insurance billing or follow-ups?
  • Can an aide be trained to make follow up phone calls to patients?

As you work up your practice manual above, you can be identifying key tasks and ensuring that there is coverage for that ask. Having staff ready and able will make your practice more resilient in good times and bad times.It's also a good idea to make sure you continue to collaborate among clinicians to ensure that one therapist can cover another. Is your documentation being written in a good way that makes it easy to transfer a patient from one therapist to another. This can be done by remote meeting such as Zoom (free option available) or GoToMeeting.

4. Overhaul or improve your website

Keep the marketing engine running!

Having a great website is a cornerstone for any great marketing strategy. Now is a great time to get cracking on your website. If you've been meaning to get to it but just haven't had the time, this is a great time to jump on it.Does your website:

  • Have an up to date staff listing with a picture and bio?
  • Clearly show all services that you offer?
  • Tell patients what they can expect on their first visit?
  • Clearly show hours and locations?
  • Make it easy for a patient to find contact information and directions?

If your website is really out of date, consider an overhaul from top to bottom. The hardest part of any website is having the information to put into that site. Web designers help make beautiful sites but they don't provide the content that goes into it. Mock up your site in something like Word and then you can be ready to get a designer when the time right.Do it all remotely!

5. Communicate with your best referral sources

Maintain and strengthen referrer relationships!

Many practices are working hard to provide patients with information and reassurances on their continued care. This is really important. In a prior blog post, we talked about integrating new telehealth offerings into your website and then blasting that out via social media and emails. Don't forget to also communicate with your referral sources. Use your practice management software to figure out where your patients are coming from. Keeping the connection with them will not only give you an opportunity to communicate what your practice is doing but will also enhance your professional image and continue to instill confidence that you have a practice that they want to send patients to. Jump on the phone, push out emails, or send text messages.

BONUS ROUND#6. Seek 3 new referral sources

Get ready to thrive!

Diversify, diversify, diversify. We're not talking about investment strategy here but rather referral sources. Many practices have a handful of great referral sources and that can work really well but don't rest on your laurels. This is the time to be identifying new referral sources whether it's more physicians' offices or others in your locale that are suitable. This could involve outreach by phone or by email. Once you've gotten your website spruced up, you could share that as well. Like anything else, keep in mind that many businesses are hurting right now but that doesn't mean you can't contact them. Right now there are important discussions happening about how to provide continuing care.

The Bottom Line

This is a tough time for practices but use this time to push forward and be ready to move forward on new opportunities! That way you can keep your forward progress in motion and be ready to thrive when the time comes! Stay positive, keep pushing forward!

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