Team Treatment Systems & How Your PT Practice Can Implement One

Should your PT practice implement a team treatment system? Check out this article to understand the benefits and how to put one in place at your PT practice.

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How Your PT Practice Can Implement Team Treatment Systems

All for one or one for all? PT practices are guilty as charged for having a one-for-all mentality. And while there is some sense to keeping PT/patient relationships individualized—modern PT practices are pivoting to a team treatment system as more patients come through the door.The result? Some PTs say they have a better work-life balance and that their patients receive better treatment.And if it sounds too good to be true, read on. In this article, you'll learn what a team treatment system is, the overarching benefits, and how to implement one from scratch.

What Exactly Is a Team Treatment System?

In physical therapy, there's often a PT vs. all mentality that persists—where one PT handles their patient load start to finish. For accountability purposes, the single-PT method works great for most practices. But what about teams who find themselves wanting to take on more patients?That's where a team treatment system comes in. The team-based approach to physical therapy enables an entire staff (including PT assistants and techs) to specialize in singular tasks to boost productivity and the overall quality of care.

Why is Team Treatment Useful?

Specialization is used everywhere in the world in disciplines like manufacturing and economics. PT practices do the same, with specialized types of care built to attract the target audience. Team-based therapy expands on this idea of putting the right people in the right roles for optimal performance.Better yet, moving PTs into roles they're uncomfortable with (at first) can help them gain perspective quickly. This can improve the level of care by developing a PT's core set of skills. It's also a fantastic way to implement coaching feedback in real-time.

How to Implement PT Team Treatment

It's easy to see how team treatment can be helpful, but how do practice owners implement a team approach? Here are five simple ways to put a system in place:

Step 1: Survey Experience

Knowing your staff's strengths and weaknesses is the first step to providing team-based care. Before drawing up a plan of action, practice owners should consider conducting one-on-one performance reviews, a team meeting, and PT shadowing to gain an understanding of each PT's ability.

Step 2: Set Roles

Getting everyone in the right roles Is key to running an efficient practice. First, you could shadow your PTs and patients while jotting down the entirety of the process. This can help you recognize every step along the way to create the roles necessary for excellent patient care. If you're just starting, reach out to other industry professionals and conduct research online.Once you understand how many positions are available—compare this number with active staff members and assign them to individual roles. Use PT techs and assistants in the most efficient way possible and double up on roles if there isn't enough staff. Use the surveying you conducted before to put everyone in the best possible position to start. Learning a new system comes with glitches along the way, so you want to prepare as much as possible in the learning phase.You want the plan of action to flow and feel natural. So, consider where everything in your practice is located and what resources staff members will need to complete the job. Once roles are assigned, you can post this quasi-organizational chart for staff to reference and send an email out. There needs to be zero confusion about who is doing what and how to accomplish that task. Before you launch a team-based care system, hold a meeting to communicate roles and responsibilities with the team.

Step 3: Employ and Monitor

Once you've made the proper preparations—it's time to execute. Choose a start date and put everyone in place. Monitor the system for at least two weeks and take notes along the way. It's essential to be hands-on in this stage to ensure patients are getting excellent care while the team learns their new roles.

Step 4: Explore Feedback

Feedback is a fundamental piece of every PT practice's success—especially when implementing a new system. Solicit feedback using automated emails, texts and in-person forms to gauge how well your practice is doing. Ask specific questions about the team-based approach and if the process was smooth. Attempt to gather feedback in a non-identifying way so patients can speak freely about their experience.Practice owners should also get feedback from staff members. Get their take on team care as a whole and their specific role in the system. Ask them about their conversations with patients and what could be improved. Creating an anonymous feedback loop here is vital as team members may be hesitant to speak openly.

Step 5: Assess and Reconfigure

After the feedback rolls in, it’s time to analyze the outcomes. What worked well? What didn't? Did patients and team members enjoy their experience?Asses all the information available and start to refine the process. Put PTs in different roles, ensure every job is accounted for, and start the process on step three with fresh eyes. Each time you employ changes, try to wait a bit longer before you shake things up. Consistency is important for operational speed and productivity.

The Bottom Line

Team-based physical therapy is an excellent way for practices to streamline their processes and provide better patient care. PTs who adopt a team care system can learn new skills, polish existing ones and work more collaboratively. Implementing team care is simple: know your staff's strengths and weaknesses, plan, execute and analyze the results. Be sure to solicit feedback along the way and jump in to ensure patients are receiving top-notch care.If you're planning on automating your physical therapy processes, you'll need a strong foundation. Our all-in-one software solution makes running a PT practice simple by equipping powerful tools like EMR templates, billing solutions, communication tools, and much more. Try our no-risk free demo to see how MWTherapy can make your practice more productive!

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