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4 Major (But Easy to Fix) Reasons Your Patients are Dropping out of Therapy

May 9, 2018 9:40:33 AM

If you’ve been a private practice physical therapist for more than a few years, you likely know all the usual complaints from patients, but do you know the best solutions for those complaints? If you’re not actively resolving these issues, you’re running the risk of more patients dropping out of therapy.

According to this study of online patient reviews, 96% of reviews focused on issues with communication, long wait times, practice staff and billing. Only 4% of complaints were against treatment.

Check out your online reviews. Are the negative reviews about the same issues mentioned above? If so, here are some helpful tips to reduce issues with communication, long wait times, practice staff and billing.

Complaint #1: Communication

Poor communication was the biggest complaint in the reviews analyzed. When patients don’t feel well informed about their care it can lead to a lot of fear and confusion about their health. Many patients may feel uncomfortable asking questions, so it’s important that you are thorough in your explanations of exercises and treatments, and keep explanations simple and easy to understand.

Encourage your patients to ask questions and provide feedback throughout their plan of care. Make sure they feel comfortable sharing questions and concerns with you and address them promptly.

Complaint #2: Long Wait Times

Patients are just as busy as you are, and arriving to an appointment on time and being forced to wait longer than expected is frustrating. However, sometimes things happen that cause appointments to run late, causing the next patients to start late.

Figure out what is causing long wait times in your office and do what you can to reduce those inefficiencies. Remember that your patients’ time is as valuable as yours. Also keep your patients updated with wait times and let them know how long they may have to wait before an appointment so they’re not caught off guard by a 10-15 minute wait. Make sure your waiting room is comfortable and your front desk staff stays on top off getting patients in and out efficiently.

Complaint #3: Practice Staff

Your entire staff has an impact on each patient. Private practice owners often forget how important the front desk staff is to the success of a business and the patient’s experience.

Make sure your entire team is making a positive impact on all patients! Train your front office, techs, PTAs and PTs how to address patient questions, complaints and needs during appointments and maintain a positive company culture at all times.

Complaint #4: Billing

Billing complaints may not always be under your control if a patient has issues with their insurance companies. The best thing you can do when it comes to billing is keep your patients informed about their expenses from the start. Before a patient’s first appointment, your front desk staff should let the patient know of any co-pays or deductibles up front. Your team should also be as knowledgeable and helpful as possible when it comes to any questions or concerns your patients have regarding billing as well.


If you’re hearing similar complaints in your practice, you may be seeing a higher number of cancellations, no-shows and therapy drop out. Here are 5 tips for reducing appointment cancellations.

Patient satisfaction is a huge factor when it comes to patient outcomes, patient retention, and patient referrals. So even though complaints may be frustrating, they must be taken seriously!

If you can reduce patient complaints and negative reviews, you’ll be able to boost your new and existing patient visits substantially. Increasing patient visits will help you grow your business and remain successful in the future.

To really grow your patient base and revenue streams, watch this webinar to discover the five-step system that is responsible for attracting over 13,000 patient visits out of a 1,550 square foot facility with a three-week waiting list for new patients.

Watch the webinar here.

Written by FYZICAL

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