Challenges Facing Physical Therapy Practices and How To Overcome Them

Challenges often lead to opportunities. See this blog post for challenges facing PT practices and some ideas about how to overcome them.

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The numerous challenges physical therapists face today can be complicated to navigate and overcome for even the most experienced PT. These guidelines will help promote billing efficiency, expand business by marketing your practice and retain top-notch talent within your circle. Above all, the goal is putting every patient at ease and providing the best care possible. In this article, we'll discuss common pitfalls to avoid for the continued success of your practice.

Billing Efficiency

Understanding and implementing the basics of billing your patients is essential. Depending on your specific needs, you're either using an in-house billing software (check out our solution) or you're outsourcing billing to a third-party company. Either way, accuracy is key to providing a seamless experience for your patients and your practice. Here are a few suggestions to master your billing process:

  • Document complexity of PT and OT evaluations
  • Be specific about the region or area of the body
  • Adhere to the 8-minute rule when billing timed therapy
  • Know when to apply modifiers
  • Differentiate between timed and untimed work
  • Review referrals and utilization before treatment

Above all, refer to the APTA guidelines to code and bill correctly for your services. Ignorance is not a proper defense, especially when being non-compliant with various coverage and payment policies, including obtaining payment from private and government sources. Mitigating these risks is essential for every practice and will likely be one of the biggest challenges that physical therapists face because the guidelines are continuously updated.

Motivating Staff

Putting the needs of patients first is paramount, but it's essential to consider the motivation and energy of your staff to accomplish this goal. The line between motivating a patient and staff member can be fragile. Determine what drives each member of your team and provide a system that supports their needs. One of the best ways is to show interest is by simply asking, "What motivates you?". If you have an employee that loves soaking up knowledge, assign them to more challenging patients. Push them to discover new ways to heal, practice their craft, and ultimately give that patient a fantastic experience. They'll trust you and appreciate that you're making an effort to keep them engaged. Another powerful method of encouragement is setting clear goals and expectations. Similar to patient recovery goals, everyone needs a goal to work toward to fight off complacency. Encourage your staff to be more ambitious in their craft and congratulate them on their success. In contrast, coach them in private when they fail and give them the support necessary for future success. These methods, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, are crucial to keeping your team engaged, productive and positive throughout day-to-day procedures.

Marketing Your Practice To Prospective Patients

You're incredible in your field, your staff is motivated, and you have systems in place to provide the best care. But why aren't people beating down the door trying to get an appointment?

When choosing a provider, people want to see a track record of trust, open lines of communication, and modern-day convenience. Establishing a brand and communicating value is one of the toughest challenges physical therapists face. Integrating your brand with a diverse marketing campaign goes a long way when loading up the appointment calendar. Start by creating and maintaining a user-friendly website. A website opens the lines of communication, builds trust, and provides patients with invaluable resources. Your website will make researching and scheduling easier for those making the tough decision of choosing a service provider. Next, focus on bringing traffic to your website by utilizing the latest SEO practices, blogging, newsletters and promotions for your services. Identifying your target audience and applying these methods provide maximum exposure. Direct access, which allows treatment without referrals, is essential for these marketing solutions to be highly effective in specific markets. State law generally allows patients to get treatment from physical therapists dissolving the total reliance on a referral based system.

Attracting and Retaining Top Physical Therapists

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the physical therapy industry is booming. Between 2018-2028 they project an additional 54,200 jobs resulting in a 22% industry increase. Therefore, new graduates and premier talent have flexibility when choosing where they practice. So how do you attract and retain the best talent in the field?

Attracting Talent

Building a culture and establishing a set of values that resonate with your company is imperative to attracting the best physical therapists in the field. Once you've designed a cultural blueprint, you can hire employees that fit the mold, which will increase their productivity, and ultimately provide a better experience for patients.Premium benefits can also ensure your practice stands-out amongst other hungry employers. The best physical therapists are excited to work for a company that takes care of its employees by offering competitive pay, performance-based incentives, insurance, and additional time off.Once you've hired the right applicant, inform other potential candidates that you're still deciding and the process will take a week. You might think you've hired a rockstar PT, but you can't be too sure until you've seen them interact and work as a member of your team.

Retaining Talent

Showing a genuine interest in your employees is monumental when retaining staff. You can start by asking the following questions:

  1. What do you find the most exciting and rewarding about your job?
  2. Are there any parts of your job that you find particularly challenging?
  3. What are your short and long term career goals?
  4. Are you curious about taking on any additional responsibility?

By probing your staff and gaining information in a 1-on-1 setting, you can develop a plan of action that keeps them engaged with their work while simultaneously broadening their horizons. You'll break down barriers of communication, allowing you to give your PTs personalized feedback.

The Bottom Line

In a field that's continually changing, being proactive about the most significant challenges physical therapists face today is imperative. Whether you can improve shortcomings in the billing sector, raise employee morale, retain top-notch talent or boost your companies' outreach to new patients, there are plenty of ways to make an impact.

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