ptpn insights: are you pulling new patients into your clinic, or pushing them away without realizing it?

While I’ve been recommending a lot of these tactics, especially web optimization and building up content on your site, it was interesting to see the broader picture of how consumers find business. I agreed with our expert Joy Scott, of Scott Public Relations, that people are no longer finding out about new companies through the older methods — just about everything is researched online in some way.

As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re putting the content out there so that people will find you when they’re looking for a new service provider. Rather than “pushing” information out, you’re building up web content in order to have people discover and “pull” it for themselves, to read and learn about your business before calling for an appointment or visiting your store.

Are you pulling new patients into your clinic, or pushing them away without realizing it?

What worked in marketing five years ago, or even two or three, would most likely not work for most consumers today. What’s the difference?

How people gather information. While old stand-bys like direct mail might still bring new people into your clinic, most people get their information on new businesses by searching online and, increasingly, on their smartphone or tablet. To get the attention of new clients, you’ll have to go where they’ll be looking.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: transition planning for your physical therapy practice

As the population ages, so too do small business owners, trying to figure out what to do with their business as they retire. As a network for privately-owned physical therapy clinics, usually with only one or two locations, PTPN tries to help members navigate the trials of small business ownership, including transition planning. This post came out of a poll that PTPN did with its owners on how soon to start planning and how they planned to transition the business to other owners.

Transition planning for your physical therapy practice: Are you ready to retire? Is your practice?

With the calendar year coming to a close, many private practice owners are preparing for 2014. What about the longer term? Have you considered what will happen to your practice when you decide to retire?

PTPN recently surveyed the therapist owners of its member practices about their thoughts and experiences regarding transitions plans for their practices. Here’s some of what we found:

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: the latest Google update

Every once in a while, I get to work on something in my own wheelhouse. (Un)fortunately, most of this post was already written. I merely searched to find a few newer articles; my source copy had been published about a month ago. That said, I’m glad I got to work on it. It forced me to read up on the topic and figure out what I need to know about Hummingbird for all of my clients, not just PTs.

The latest Google update: What therapy practice owners need to know about Google Hummingbird.

Have you heard about Google Hummingbird? It’s the latest update to Google’s search function, and understanding its impact is crucial to your practice’s online presence.

As you may know, Google updates its algorithm regularly. What makes Hummingbird different is its size and scope — it’s reportedly the largest algorithm update since 2001, and it’s affecting 9 out of 10 online searches. The major change is an emphasis on conversational or context searching, rather than traditional keyword searching. The new algorithm aims to respond to the way web users are searching today, which is less and less by one or two keywords and more and more by longer phrases or complete questions.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: developing stronger revenue streams and healthier communities

Sometimes writing is all about speaking to your audience. With October being National Physical Therapy Month, at PTPN we wanted to focus on all of the specialty programs offered by PTs, educating the public about what they can find at their local physical therapy office and encouraging PTs to start such programs if they haven’t already.

So while last week’s post was geared toward the general public and health/wellness consumers, this week’s post was giving tips to PTs and clinic owners on developing cash-pay and specialty programs. The information was from the same interviews, but the message is completely different.

Developing stronger revenue streams and healthier communities: Lessons learned from private practice owners

October 2013 — National Physical Therapy Month

As Americans’ health and wellness needs evolve, so does the role of the physical therapist — and so do practice owners’ opportunities to develop new sources of revenue.

For example, with wellness and exercise programs continuing to be in high demand as Baby Boomers age, physical therapists are ideally suited to help people of all ages and fitness levels reach their wellness goals. As the medical community’s leading experts in helping people improve the way their bodies work, feel and move, many PTs are expanding their range of services, focusing on both prevention of and recovery from injury and illness. This expansion not only increases options for patients, it is critical for the future of private practice therapy, as we described in a blog post earlier this year.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: integrating EMR software into your practice

One of the challenges of writing about healthcare is that it is always evolving. While the focus 20 years ago may have been clinical issues, PTs and other clinicians now have to deal more with Medicare, HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act, and EMRs.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that EMRs will be great for healthcare… eventually. With all of our moving around, I’ve had 5 knee surgeries in 4 different cities with 4 different doctors. Trying to gather my records to bring to the next surgeon has been a feat; when we moved to Atlanta and I had to see another new ortho for a strained IT band, I handed him a stack of paper 3 inches thick and a one-page summary of all that I’ve had done. So I can’t wait to be able to access my healthcare records via the cloud, and being able to virtually share them from doctor to doctor.

But getting clinicians and their front office staff on board takes time. Learning new software is always a challenge, especially software that tries to tackle not just virtual charting but also scheduling and billing. I spoke to Stevyn and Andrea to get some advice for our members on how to integrate such software into a PT practice as painlessly as possible.

Integrating EMR software into your practice

Many therapists are grappling with the transition to electronic medical records (or EMRs, also known as electronic health records or EHRs). In July, we revealed a few tips from PTPN members on how to shop for EMR and billing software. This month, Stevyn Voyles, COO and vice president of Progressive Physical Therapy (a PTPN member with four locations in Southern California), and Andrea Cassese, director of PTOS Software for Patterson Medical (a Preferred Vendor for PTPN), give readers some advice when preparing to integrate such software into their practices.

Before we begin, Stevyn, what type of EMR system do you use?
SV: After being a testing site for four different EMR systems and trying out at least 10, we considered ourselves pretty knowledgeable about what a system should do, what it shouldn’t and what we wanted. Needless to say, we are a demanding group. Our goal was to find a system that would help us chart faster, be more complete (that is, compliance-driven), and integrate with billing.

Most of the open architecture systems relied on too much open data entry for our taste. We decided against them because regulations are ever-changing, and we don’t want our PTs to be caught short just because they forgot to dot an “i” or cross a “t.” That’s why we focused on compliance-driven software that used drop-down menus to help PTs choose the right codes for billing, PQRS, etc. There’s still data entry and the ability to free-type, but less room for error.

The program we decided on is an ASP access program, software that is accessed via the internet. Though we have the ability to bring the program in-house and host a server for ourselves, a web-based solution works well for us because we have four different clinic locations.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: how are physical therapy patients finding your website?

I am still amazed that many of our network members do not have websites for their clinics; they simply don’t understand the need. Perhaps it’s a generational divide. They see it as a flashy waste of time; as a patient, I see it as a way to get to know the clinicians and the tone of the clinic before I set foot in the door. (Plus, I can see if any of their PTs have a background in dance or working with dancers.)

Regardless, we try to help those members see why they need a website as part of their marketing plan. And not just throwing up a page or two with their street address and a couple of badly-lit photos of their staff and rehab space — one that has considered their target demographics and what information they’d want to learn from their website. Perhaps one where patients can download forms and learn about wellness and preventative care. And hopefully one that follows basic search engine optimization rules so that future (and current) patients and clients can find it easily.

How are physical therapy patients finding your website?

What form of advertising is cheaper than direct mail, radio, newspapers and the once-requisite Yellow Pages? A website. Creating a site for your practice is a key component of a private therapy practice’s marketing plan. It reaches regional and national audiences, in addition to your local clientele. And it’s easy to measure your results.

Even though most of your patients will be referred by physicians, they’ll still go to the web to check out your practice. It is a place where patients and clients can learn about your therapists, see what services you offer, and even download patient forms, so that they can have them in hand at their first appointment.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: shopping for the right EMR and billing software for your practice

When it comes to writing about the business of physical therapy, I am very thankful that much of my source material comes from proprietary sources. In this case, PTPN had surveyed its members about what they liked/disliked about the software they were using for EMRs, or electronic medical records, and my task was to distill the information into some general advice on how to shop for such software.

It’s days like this where I’m glad to be writing about such things instead of having to find such software myself. There were more than 15 companies mentioned in the survey, and they had so many different options that I can’t imagine trying to find the right fit for my business. If you do, I’d definitely take a look at what our members said were the pros and cons of their software, below.

Shopping for the right EMR
and billing software for your practice.

Many therapists are grappling with the transition to electronic medical records (or EMRs, also known as electronic health records or EHRs) and electronic claims submission. To gain some insights into these issues, PTPN recently conducted a member survey regarding their experiences with EMRs and billing software services.

Members of PTPN and PTPN Nexus can access the complete survey results by logging in to the ptpn.com website at www.ptpn.com/provider/index.php. Simply click on “Provider Tools,” then “Practice Management,” after logging in.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: how to calculate your cost of doing business, part 2

As with part 1 on financial know-how, this is a piece where I was more an editor than a writer. Along with my boss, Stephen, we edited an hour-long conversation on understanding a clinic’s bottom line into two separate blog posts. The first focused on why business owners should understand the finances of their company. The second, excerpted below, looks more at how this can be achieved.

How to calculate your cost of doing business: A Q&A with Michael Weinper, PTPN CEO and President, part 2

We recently sat down with PTPN CEO and President Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, M.P.H., to discuss calculating the cost of doing business. Michael is also the owner of Progressive Physical Therapy, a private practice with four locations in Southern California. In part 1, published two weeks ago, we discussed why you should know the cost of doing business in your clinic. Today’s post looks at how to calculate your cost of doing business.

What is the most important cost that an owner of a clinic should know?
You need to know the basic cost per visit you need to cover in order to stay in business. The basic cost could be defined as taking all of your expenses that you have in a year, and dividing them by the number of visits during the year. This is crude, but it’s also very easy to calculate. It can be done by any period of time — week, month or year.

Your cost per visit can vary month-to-month, and it will, because if you treat more patients while your other expenses (labor, rent, etc.) stay constant, your cost per visit will go down during that month. On the other hand, if you have fewer visits, your cost per visit will go up.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: why you should know your cost of doing business, part 1

This is another piece where I was more an editor than a writer. PTPN’s CEO and President, Michael Weinper, has more than 40 years of experience as a practice owner and business manager. We talked for about an hour about financial management and best practices for understanding your clinic’s bottom line. Along with my boss, Stephen, we edited the conversation into two separate blog posts. The first, excerpted below, focuses on why business owners should understand the finances of their company. The second, which will be posted in a couple of weeks, will look more at how this can be achieved.

Why you should know your cost of doing business: A Q&A with Michael Weinper, PTPN CEO and President, part 1

With personal taxes having been filed and spring around the corner, it’s a good time to take a look at whether your business is fiscally healthy. We recently sat down with PTPN CEO and President Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, M.P.H., to discuss calculating the cost of doing business. Michael is also the owner of Progressive Physical Therapy, a private practice with four locations in Southern California. He gave us so much information that it will be published in two posts: today’s discussing why you should know the cost of doing business in your clinic, and our next post on how to calculate your cost of doing business.

Why is it important for a practice owner to know the cost of doing business?
Every business has a necessary primary goal: To make a profit. If a business doesn’t make a profit, it can’t stay in existence for very long. Furthermore, most small businesses spend all the money they make every year, so they don’t have any reserves to fall back on. It’s keenly important to know what your cost of doing business is, as you make multiple decisions in your practice that have an impact on profit.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!

ptpn insights: social media: is it part of your marketing plan?

While a part of generation X, the generation before those raised on social media, I am more than aware of the power of social media when it comes to marketing, especially how it relates to your searching power. While I agree with our skeptic contributor that it may not be right for all PT practices, I do see its potential for those that are willing to put in the effort.

Social media: Is it part of your marketing plan?

Are you using social media to market your therapy practice? While social media will not replace more traditional marketing methods, such as advertising, direct mail and email, it’s one more way to build customer relationships and attract new business.

Social media is a popular, immediate and intimate way to communicate with many audiences. And it’s not just for young people — the fastest growing segment on Facebook is people 25 and older.

In addition, participating in social media adds to your online presence — being active on sites like Facebook can boost the search results for your clinic and drive more people to your website, making your clinic easier to find online. It also creates the impression that your business is cutting-edge and thriving. Perhaps most importantly, marketing via social media means you’re going where these customers already are, which is much easier (and cheaper!) than getting them to come to you.

Read the full entry at ptpn.com!