A few years ago I rarely worried about where patients were coming from or fee schedules. There were fewer clinics and reimbursements were much higher. Today, there are many more clinics to choose from, it’’s increasingly becoming an outcome/data driven market, and reimbursements are trending down in the form of per diems.
A year and a half ago I realized something had to change. There were too many things out of my control as a practice owner that were impacting my success and frankly, the enjoyment of owning my practice of 15 years. I had developed long standing relationships with referring physicians, but they needed constant attention especially with new clinics vying for their referrals. Marketing and differentiating my clinic in an attempt to increase patient volume was proving to be an ongoing challenge.
In addition to my clinical ‘expertise’, the most important and valuable asset my practice has are the patients whom I”ve develop a relationship with while helping them return to a healthier state. I started to question how I was I leveraging my patient assets, or as is generally the case today, not leveraging them, especially once they had been discharged. I realized that if I could establish a new type of connection with them I could more readily bring them back into the clinic when they had a reoccurrence of symptoms or a new injury. I also knew that after my patients are discharged, whether because they ran out of benefits, were refused additional authorizations, or had achieved an acceptable functional level, many of them still wanted access to my expertise, guidance, and oversight.
To address these problems I realized I had to truly evolve the way I deliver care and run my practice. I did not want to hire more staff, lease more space, or buy more equipment. As little as I knew about technology (and I mean little), I wondered if software could provide help. My patients are online everyday in every other aspect of their lives, why not for their rehab?
I developed, along with a team of technical experts, web-based software to do the following:
- Better communicate with and market to my patients to increase patient volume and reduce attrition.
- Deliver better care and get better outcomes while improving my patient’’s rehab experience.
- Give my patients the services (highly profitable) they are willing to pay for out-of-pocket in form of cash-based programs (e.g. e-maintenance programs)
I have been using Tx Xchange for the last 6 months. Patient volume is up by 23%, physician referrals are up by 270%, and the e-maintenance program is generating $375/hr per therapist.
Practice owners do not have to sit idly by while insurance companies and other professions (e.g. gym-based personal trainers) weaken our valuable patient relationship. We own that relationship and it’’s up to us to strengthen it and leverage it so our businesses can thrive and prosper in a challenging healthcare environment.
Here is an example of a treatment photo provided by Tx Xchange
Mark Barnes, DPT
For more information visit txxchange.com