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PT Advocacy: How Patient Advocates Can Improve Outcomes

PT advocacy is essential to forming strong patient relationships & optimizing care. Learn how being a patient advocate can help you improve patient outcomes.

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PT Advocacy: How Patient Advocates Can Improve Outcomes

Advocacy is an integral component of the patient experience. When it comes to physical therapy, patient advocacy can serve as a conduit for patients to receive critical care and turn a patient who previously abandoned treatment into a patient who completes an entire course of care. But what exactly is PT advocacy, and what role does it play in patient experiences and outcomes?

PT advocacy involves physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and general PT office staff who work directly alongside patients and patients' families to promote their best interests. PT advocates support, guide, and educate patients every step of the way. Keep reading to learn about PT advocacy among therapy practices and how advocacy can improve patient outcomes.

What Does PT Advocacy Mean?

Physical therapy (PT) advocacy is a method to provide patients and patient caregivers with professional guidance throughout the treatment process. PT advocates are the individuals who work hand-in-hand with patients and therapy providers to enhance the patient experience, from the patient's initial intake, through final discharge and everything that occurs in between.

There are no established standards or certifications to become a PT advocate, which makes advocates' educational and medical backgrounds quite diverse. In the field of physical therapy, it's common to see therapists, therapist assistants, and even patient support representatives — like a member of a practice's billing department — serve as a PT advocates for patients.

Something all of these individuals share is a robust knowledge of physical therapy. They leverage this knowledge to simplify complex PT terms or acronyms, so patients better understand their diagnoses. They also decipher insurance coverage and liaise between patients and providers. In other words, PT advocacy helps patients navigate anything healthcare-related.

How Physical Therapy Advocacy Can Change PT & Improve Patient Outcomes

PT advocacy is vital in providing patients with top-tier, stand-out care. An absence of PT advocacy for your patients will not only impact their perception of your practice but can also lead to missed revenue opportunities and a need for strong patient relationships, which can lessen your practice's profitability and the general opinion of your business.

When practices prioritize PT advocacy, they prioritize the patient experience. Fortunately, a patient-centric patient can encourage optimal patient outcomes in various ways. Look at how physical therapy advocacy can improve PT patient outcomes in your practice.

1. PT Advocacy Helps Build Patient Trust

PT advocacy is a cornerstone of patient trust. By practicing PT advocacy, practice staff demonstrates that patient care is their top priority. The more your staff advocate for patient well-being, the more faith your patients have that your practice has their best interests in mind. Maintaining advocacy efforts over time creates a trustworthy bond that can drive long-term patient relationships.

With long-lasting, trusting relationships also comes patient satisfaction. Through ongoing PT advocacy, your practice can continuously provide superior care. With that being said, patients who are confident in and satisfied with your practice will be more likely to refer your physical therapy services to others and could even be more willing to leave you a positive review.

2. PT Advocacy Can Improve Patient Compliance

PT advocates do more than guide patients through treatment; they can also actively encourage patients to complete an entire course of care. At a time when 40% of therapy clinic managers report that the majority of patients do not complete treatment, and only 6.7% of clinic operators claim patients complete a plan of care, PT advocacy can drastically improve patient compliance.

PT advocacy pushes patients to be much more open and willing to follow their individual PT treatment plans and accompanying recommendations. Continuous compliance with professional recommendations will allow both physical therapists and patients to see consistently stronger treatment outcomes. As with patient trust, enhanced patient outcomes will further fuel patient satisfaction and generally provide a better opinion of your practice.

3. PT Advocacy Can Help Patients Receive Essential Care

A critical role PT advocacy plays in the overall patient experience is the ability to secure essential treatment when necessary. Physical therapists typically spend weeks navigating a patient's course of treatment to reach a positive outcome. However, there may come the point during treatment where a patient's insurance coverage maxes out, which then pauses treatment efforts.

Communicating with providers can be an uncomfortable and frustrating situation for many patients, which creates an excellent opportunity in your practice to step up to the plate with PT advocacy. To receive the essential care patients need and deserve, physical therapists can stand at the forefront when dealing with insurance providers to ensure continued care.

Suppose they determine there is more work to be done when coverage maxes out. In that case, physical therapists can use their professional knowledge to negotiate with providers for necessary therapy on behalf of the patient. When a PT can extend their patient's coverage, they demonstrate the highest patient care efforts and support the chances of achieving better treatment outcomes.

The Bottom Line: Improving Outcomes As a Patient Advocate

The value is quite clear when it comes to PT advocacy and the benefits it brings to your practice and your patients. By promoting strong PT advocacy, your patients can gain more trust and confidence in your practice, resulting in more robust patient compliance and overall satisfaction.

As a knowledgeable healthcare professional, acting as a PT advocate when navigating patient insurance concerns ensures continuous care and higher chances of meeting the desired treatment outcome and experience. With all this being said, physical therapists require a physical therapy management solution to ensure strong advocacy each step of the way.

With MWTherapy's practice management solution, boosting advocacy efforts through enhanced client communication and treatment file management is a breeze. Our robust capabilities provide complete visibility and control over every patient detail to ensure seamless patient advocacy and treatment efforts every step of the way, from engaging clients in care to securing proper treatment.

To learn more about how MWTherapy can boost your PT advocacy, schedule a demo today.

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