Improving the Patient Experience for Physical Therapists

Author: Paul Singh
Categories:  Helpful Resources

We live in a nation of choices.  Whether you are looking for a restaurant or a place to buy shoes, numerous choices abound.  As a consumer, your decision to go back and spend your hard-earned dollars with a business often depends upon more than just the quality of the product.  The overall customer experience plays an integral role in determining repeat business.  Customer experience is everything related to a business that affects a customer’s perception and feelings about it.  The customer experience journey includes every interaction, no matter how small or how brief, even if it doesn’t result in a purchase.

Let’s not confuse customer service with customer experience.  Both are important to the success of a business; however, customer service typically happens when the business assists the customer with the help they require.  Customer service is just a piece of the larger puzzle that makes up the customer experience.  Customer experience requires a deeper understanding of how your customer is feeling and what they are thinking – through every step of the consumer process.  Knowing this, we can strive to constantly improve their experience at every level.

The desire for an individual to have an excellent experience doesn’t stop at restaurants or shoe stores.  Individuals are now seeking excellence when it comes to their patient experience as well.  Like the retail side, knowing what a patient feels and thinks throughout their patient journey will have a distinct advantage for a physical therapy practice.  Therapists that focus on the patient experience as a whole, from intake to payment, will find themselves retaining clients and adding new ones as word of mouth spreads.  Plus, when patients are happier and more comfortable, the healing process is more effective.  It’s a win-win for both patient and therapist.

The patient experience begins with the first impression that your office staff delivers, either at the front desk or over the phone, or by email.  How are they prioritizing the patient experience?  A warm, friendly greeting or a cordial response to a question goes a long way in getting things off on the right foot.  If a prospective patient catches your staff having a bad day, that relationship might end before it begins.  The old saying is true – you never get a second chance at a first impression.  The first impressions you give your patient sets the tone going forward.

Everyone that works at your practice should understand what is expected of them.  Make sure they are aware of how to properly greet everyone, what good conversation etiquette is and the importance of body language.  Oftentimes, first impressions are formed by what is implied in tone and gestures, not by what is actually spoken.

Your waiting room can also enhance or take away from their patient experience.  Is the ambiance warm and cozy?  Is your furniture comfortable?  Try adding warm lighting and soothing music to create more of a spa-like setting.  This will help relax patients and prepare their minds for the therapy ahead.  For in-home therapy practices, making sure you are always on time and have an excellent bedside manner.  This helps alleviate any concerns about the patient having a stranger in their home.

Patients also expect an easy, seamless and efficient digital experience.  That means the platforms and technology you use should enhance the patient experience, not diminish it. 

Some of the features sure to increase patient satisfaction and manage the patient experience include:

Electronic Patient Intake with e-Signatures

80% of patients choose providers based on convenience factors alone. Your patients will love a simple paperless process that eliminates wait times by collecting intake and insurance before a visit.

Patient Satisfaction & Online Review Automation

Do your patients feel like they are being heard? Have patients complete an electronic patient satisfaction questionnaire from their mobile device. Immediately you can start analyzing their responses. Really examine what your patients tell you. Honest answers will lead you to make changes that will enhance the patient experience for everyone. For patients that really want to sing your praises, send them an invite to post their review on your Google and Facebook page through an online review request tool.

Automated Two-Way Appointment Reminders with Confirmation

Text messages (SMS) are the most reliable way to minimize missed appointments and this tool allows patients to quickly confirm their appointment. In this ever-changing, hectic world, patients appreciate a reminder about important appointments like a therapy visit. Email is also an acceptable method if the patient prefers it instead of SMS.

Mobile Bill Pay with Financial Clarity

Providing automated balance alerts and financial clarity for patients helps keep them engaged during every step of the billing cycle. No surprise bills leads to a better patient experience.

There are a lot of fragmented systems in the marketplace with limited solutions. This is mainly due to integration dependencies, or lack of access to the data needed to manage the full process. Using multiple systems is a surefire way of creating confusion, as well as frustration, with your valued patients. In addition to the features above, a robust platform should also include EMR, Scheduling, Billing & RCM Service, Workflow Management, Analytics & Outcomes as well as Mobile Therapist software.

StrataPT helps your PT/OT/ST practice manage the entire patient experience from digital check-in to patient satisfaction surveys and everything in-between. Having user-friendly software and the most comprehensive integrated platform in the industry ensures that every feature works seamlessly and easily to enhance your patient engagement.

StrataPT also provides a 100% US-based customer care team that is the best in the industry. If a question does arise, their 14-minute average response time will provide an answer quickly and efficiently, so your staff can continue to provide a positive patient experience for all your clients.

Learn more about how StrataPT can help improve and manage the patient experience through their physical therapy billing, software, and revenue cycle management solutions by scheduling a demo of our industry-leading platform. We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about your practice.

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