Physical Therapy Business

5 Steps to Improve Your Private Practice

  • There are always ways to improve your private practice.
  • Implement these five strategies today to see immediate results.
  • Learn how to increase your patient visits, productivity, and revenue.

No matter how long you’ve been in business or how successful your practice is, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Here, you’ll find five steps you can implement in your practice today to see immediate results. After implementing these steps, you will increase your patient visits, productivity, and revenue, and create more earning opportunities for your staff and overall practice.

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Step 1: Schedule Maximization

Look at the last 30 days and check specifically for initial evals only on the schedule. You’re looking for those evals that were canceled or no-showed. You’ll notice that less than 50% were actually rescheduled or became patients. This is because there are no systems in place for new evals that cancel or do not show other than attempting to reschedule right then at the time of canceling and not showing. Doing the simple exercise of going back weekly and monthly to do a “weekly eval analysis”, you’ll find a TON of patients that slipped through the cracks. It’s easy to overlook because you assume they'll show up once a patient has an eval scheduled. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Step 2: Enhanced Practice Productivity

This doesn’t mean treating more patients in a day. This means opportunities to provide a greater earning potential for your employees. Are you open on Saturday? Why not? Allowing your employees to work on Saturdays can enhance their earning potential. Many PTs have substantial student loan debt, and now you have the opportunity to open a new area for them to make more money to pay off that debt.

When you open on Saturday, you normally pay your therapists above and beyond their salary, and your margins skyrocket. You don’t pay more in rent, janitorial, etc. You only have one expense: labor. For example, Monday through Friday your net income or profit margin should be 25% (net income does NOT include owner salary). Let's say your PT treats one patient for 60 minutes on a Saturday. This equals four billed units or $100 reimbursed (as an example.) Pay the therapist their hourly salary on Saturday (for this example, we’ll look at $40/hour). You’ll also pay a receptionist their hourly rate, and for this example, we’ll assume the receptionist is paid $15/hour. Now, your labor is $55/hour, and you’re reimbursed $100/hour, making your profit margin 45%! Note: Scheduling patients for 60-minute blocks are not effective in PT – that’s another reason this is an example and not an exact model. See Step 5. This same opportunity exists during the week before operating hours, during lunch, and after hours.

Step 3: Increased Referral Conversion

A referral is not just a patient referral sent in by a physician. A referral is anyone contacting the clinic with a need you can serve (walk-ins, calls, etc.). What percentage of referrals do you actually schedule? If you don’t know, you’re at 70% (that’s the average for private practices in the US).

Patients have all kinds of excuses for not scheduling an eval, canceling, or not showing up for appointments. Your receptionists are getting objections from your patients, and many times, your front desk is not trained to handle these objections properly. Therefore, patients are not getting scheduled 100% of the time. Work with your front desk to have a system for rescheduling patients and ensuring they are present for their scheduled appointments. You have to keep track of your referral conversions. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea how many patients are not actually getting scheduled. 

Step 4: Performance-based Compensation

Create a culture of high productivity with clinical teams. Productivity is measured by visits per hour and units billed per visit. For example, a team has three PTs: Sarah, Jim, and Mark. Sarah, Jim, and Mark all have a base salary. All three have specific metrics associated with both of these numbers (visits per hour and units billed per visit) per individual clinician. As a clinician, Sarah has the opportunity to hit a “low bonus” if she hits her individual numbers. Jim and Mark have the same opportunity. If all three also hit their numbers, they all get a “high bonus.” If Jim is behind on the group goal, it’s not a matter of creating animosity, it’s about building each other up and creating a culture of high productivity. If Jim is behind, the other two PTs will step up to make up for what he is not hitting.

This culture of high productivity should run through your entire business. Every single position in your PT practice should have performance-based compensation.

Step 5: Improved Scheduling Methodology

FYZICAL has over 10,000 hours invested in determining the most efficient scheduling blocks. The usual 60, 45, and 30-minute blocks are outdated. Forty minutes is the best scheduling methodology. Period. For example, for every patient you see in an hour, let’s assume you bill four units and receive $100 in reimbursement. In an eight-hour day, your maximum capacity is eight patients, totaling $800. If you transitioned to 40-minute blocks, you now have the capacity to treat 12 patients in a day, but you’re only going to bill three units instead of four because of time constraints. So, you only bill three units and receive $80 per visit… BUT $80 x 12 patients equals $960/day. Would you rather make $800/day or $960/day? Your therapists are going to say “I can’t treat more patients taking on more work just to get paid the same.” The secret here is they’re going to get paid a lot more by managing labor more productively. There is an exact way to compensate your employees for a change in schedule methodology, but we can’t share that here. Need more tips? 

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