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What Are Physical Therapy Benchmarks? A Quick Overview

Discover the importance of using physical therapy benchmarks to track patient progress, compare outcomes, and identify areas for improvement in the clinic.

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What Are Physical Therapy Benchmarks? A Quick Overview

You may understand the ins and outs of providing stellar patient services, but it doesn’t always coincide with a successful physical therapy practice. Physical therapists aren’t always business masters, leaving them asking, “What is a PT benchmark?” Understanding measurable benchmarks in your practice can help you improve communication, identify underperforming areas, and grow your practice as your team works toward common goals.

Main Takeaways From This Article:

  • Internal benchmarking can help you measure and improve upon metrics within your practice, like tracking billable hours, patient visits, and cancellations.
  • External benchmarking can measure your practice’s success against other PT offices in the market. Examples of external benchmarks include tracking patient referrals and referral sources.
  • Benchmarking offers several wonderful benefits to grow your physical therapy practice and can help improve communication and identify areas of improvement.
  • It’s easy to implement benchmarking into your occupational therapy practice by measuring key performance indicators and tracking progress over time.

What Are Physical Therapy Benchmarks?

Physical therapy benchmarks are measurable metrics used internally and externally to track the overall progress of the clinic. Benchmarks are chosen carefully and are based on existing key performance indicators within the practice. With benchmarks, you can better determine where your team is currently and set achievable and measurable future goals.

Physical therapy practices commonly use both internal and external benchmarking metrics. Internal benchmarking uses measurable metrics within the walls of your practice and pertains directly to your immediate PT team. Alternatively, external benchmarking uses similar measurable goals but compares your clinic’s performance to the broader physical therapy market in the area.

Benefits of Physical Therapy Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a standard tool businesses use worldwide, with best practices that easily translate to a physical therapy clinic. Benchmarking benefits in PT are universal and help every member of the team. By improving communication and identifying potential areas of improvement, you can use standard benchmarking data analysis to create a more successful team while tracking your measurable progress.

1. Standardized Measurement

Just as a physical therapist would use a standardized measurement to track a patient’s progress with increased weight or range of motion, a PT practice can use standardized measurements to track overall business and progress.

Standardized measurements provide tangible, measurable, and valuable data about the practice and business operations. Using a solid measurement allows you to identify future areas of improvement and can give you measurable and achievable goals to work toward. Utilizing the same monthly data will allow you to track progress and evaluate your path to success.

2. Improved Communication

Being part of a team is much more fun when everyone pulls in the same direction and wins together. Introducing internal or external benchmarks into your practice can help improve communication between coworkers.

Having clear goals that the entire team is working toward helps improve the practice in all aspects, including better patient care outcomes. Benchmarks should be transparent, accessible, and available to all team members so everyone can unite together to progress the clinic forward.

3. Finding Areas of Improvement

While using measurable data to create relative benchmarks for your practice, be prepared to uncover some unfriendly truths about your practice. When designing your key performance indicators, you may discover that your initial statistics are far from where you hoped.

Having initial benchmarks in place will help you identify areas of improvement. You may discover your referral conversion is lower than expected, or your team needs to track billable hours correctly. Statistics and metrics are valuable tools to have and can only help your practice improve. Benchmarks will allow you to measure the same monthly metrics, charting your gradual improvement toward your final goal.

Examples of Physical Therapy Benchmarks

The first step to creating future goals for your practice is determining what benchmarks you'd like to focus your attention on. Remember that every practice will have different benchmarks relative to their overall goals. A practice can custom-create its benchmarks based on its overall size, long-term objectives, revenue goals, or company-wide growth.

Some standard benchmarks used by PT clinics include:

  • Billed units per hour
  • Number of patients seen daily
  • Payments per billed hour
  • Total number of patients seeking treatment
  • Total number of visits
  • Cancellation rate
  • Home health productivity benchmarks
  • Patient no-show rate
  • Initial evaluation metrics
  • Number of patients referred and referral source tracking

Some benchmarks may require a deeper dive into overall production and a more detailed view to get the best value from the available data. Remember to base your future goals for these metrics on accurate key performance indicator data. Collect research relative to your practice and start measuring your benchmark goals monthly.

How To Implement Physical Therapy Benchmarks

Physical therapy benchmarks can help propel your practice to the next level, achieving higher profit and providing better patient care. Benchmarks are not a “one size fits all” metric and should be custom catered to the particular goals of your clinic. Follow benchmarking best practices to get the most benefit from your physical therapy benchmarks.

Use Relevant and Measurable Metrics

Ensure the metrics make sense for your practice. Monitoring new patients and the number of patients referred makes sense if you’re trying to grow your practice. To improve physical therapist efficiency and maintain your practice, measure billable hours and the number of patients treated daily.

Ensure Compliance

Benchmarking is more successful when every member of the team tracks and enters their benchmarks statistics the same. Creating an atmosphere for compliance will give your benchmarking results more meaning and value and allow you to adjust your performance and services better moving forward.

Automate Routine Tasks

Tracking and measuring can be tedious and time-consuming. Using a tool to help make tracking easier can create more time, giving your therapists more time to treat patients. Consider automating tasks to prevent physical therapist burnout. Automated tasks are much faster and tend to be more accurate overall.

Implement Practice Management Tools

Think about utilizing practice management software with built-in features to track the KPIs vital to your practice’s success. MWTherapy software allows you to see your key metrics evolve in a clear and measurable format over time.

Incentivize Your Employees

Benchmarks are only beneficial if everyone on the team buys into their value. To honor compliance and encourage employees to reach new goals, consider adding incentive programs to give employees a competitive edge and extra incentives.

Take It One Step at a Time

If you’re new to using a physical therapy benchmark in your practice, consider starting with just two or three benchmarks to control and measure progress over time. As your team becomes more comfortable, gradually introduce additional benchmarks or use more detailed metrics to measure overall success.

Bottom Line: Improve Your PT Practice’s Performance With MWTherapy

Implementing a benchmarking program can help grow your practice internally and externally, offering a higher level of communication and patient care. Tracking key performance indicators can be challenging, tedious, and inaccurate if done manually.

Turn to innovative software, like MWTherapy, to help manage your benchmark tracking needs. Created by physical therapy professionals, MWTherapy is a trusted source for benchmarking tools with easy-to-read and accurate performance updates. Try out MWTherapy’s software today with a free demonstration.

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