Growing your Rehabilitation Practice in 2022
Let’s be real: we’re one month into 2022, and by now, most people have let their New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. However, if you’re an entrepreneur in the rehabilitation space, you aren’t the kind to start over in January each year, only to give up four weeks in. You’re constant reinventing, innovating, and pushing for the next big step in your business.
2022 has the potential to be a great year for your therapy business. As demand for rehabilitation services continues to rise, PTs and OTs in private practice have a unique opportunity to rise up and meet the demand.
In this article, we’ll consider three key pillars to successful practice growth in 2022:
- Build a strong foundation
- Market yourself and your services
- Diversify your offerings and income streams
Build your Foundation
If you want clients to invest in the product you’re selling—your rehabilitation skills and services—you need to ensure that it’s the best possible version of that product. Shoring up the foundation of your practice by insisting on quality will inspire confidence in your current clientele and attract new business.
In our New PT’s Guide to Measuring and Improving the Delivery of Patient Care, we’ve discussed the importance of monitoring your patients’ satisfaction with their care. A positive patient experience is a key component of quality care in rehabilitation, and it encourages patients to return to your practice for their future needs.
Metrics like the Net Promotor Score (NPS) allow you to measure patient loyalty and track improvement over time. Low NPS rankings highlight patients who may have had less than stellar experiences with your practice: these patients can show you when it’s time to change tactics or improve existing processes.
Approach these metrics with a growth mindset: how can you use the information you’ve gained to make tomorrow’s patient experience better than today’s? Your patients will appreciate your focus on quality improvement and will keep coming back for more.
Hire the Best People
You’re not a one-person show – at least not if practice growth is your goal. Therapists who are just starting out in private practice may be tempted to wear many hats: they try to treat patients, market their services, manage the billing, and even deep clean the clinic’s equipment each night.
While it’s tempting to try to do it all to keep costs down, you may actually be sabotaging yourself by losing focus on the key areas in which you are most valuable to your business.
Here’s an example: If you currently do all the promotion and marketing for your practice, sit down and calculate how much time you spend on those tasks each week. How many clients could you treat in that time?
Based on how much you bill per client, are you losing money by spending time on marketing? If so, it may be time to consider a business or marketing consultant – someone who is as skilled at their craft as you are at patient care.
Non-clinical activities aside, it’s also important to consider when you could use more clinical help. By bringing on additional treating therapists, you can avoid burning yourself out. Additionally, another therapist may have a unique clinical skill set, allowing you to diversify your treatment offerings.
Toot Your Own Horn
While we’ve just discussed that you may want to pass along promotional duties to someone else, this doesn’t mean marketing isn’t important for practice growth – just the opposite. If you want to grow your business, you’ll need a reliable stream of new patients. Marketing, in its many forms, is the best way to ensure that.
Maximize Your Advertising Options
If you run a small private practice, dedicating a large chunk of your budget towards marketing can feel daunting. While you certainly still need a dedicated marketing plan and budget, you can offset some of the overwhelm by taking advantage of free advertising options.
Healthcare directories are an excellent example: most are free, and they allow you to grow your digital footprint and manage your clinic’s online reputation in an efficient manner. If you haven’t already claimed your Google Business listing and added your name to your professional organization’s provider directory, make doing so a top priority.
Target your Ideal Patients
While many PTs and OTs have advanced certifications and are highly specialized, the general public often assumes every therapist is the same. This represents a valuable opportunity to better educate your target audience on exactly what you offer.
When designing promotional material, you should highlight your unique offerings, the things that differentiate your practice from the big-box corporate therapy chain down the street.
Do you offer telehealth or hybrid care options? Are you able to provide full hour, one-on-one appointment times? Do you have advanced specialty certifications that your competitors lack?
Make your specialties a key component of your advertising. This will help your ideal patients find you more quickly and allow you to grow within your niche.
Make your Skill Speak for Itself
Once you’ve captured the attention of your ideal patients, they still may need a little convincing to choose your practice over others. Free consultations are a powerful tool to show potential patients exactly what you have to offer.
Brief consults give you the opportunity to develop an initial therapeutic connection, review patient goals, and set expectations for how therapy in your practice looks. Showcasing your clinical knowledge in consultations helps build confidence in your treatment approach, turning today’s prospect into tomorrow’s patient.
Perhaps you read the previous section and found yourself wondering, “What are my specialties? How do I differentiate myself from my competitors?” If so, it may be time to diversify. Diversification—both in offerings and revenue streams—is the modern rehab entrepreneur’s best recourse for practice growth.
Expand your Clinical Skill Set
If you’re still treating patients exactly the same way you did five years ago, it’s time to branch out. Perhaps this is the year that you finally take that continuing education course you’ve been putting off or register for your specialty certification exam.
Perhaps 2022 is the year you finally hire another therapist, someone who can help you fill the gaps with a skill set that is different from yours. By offering innovative new techniques and services, your practice will stand out from your competition and draw new business from clients looking to try something different.
Create New Revenue Streams
Your clinical skills aren’t the only part of your practice that can benefit from diversification. It’s no secret that insurance reimbursement rates for physical and occupational therapy services are declining and at risk of continued cuts. If you hope to grow your business in 2022, you’ll want to seek out supplemental sources of revenue for your practice.
Cash pay practice models have become increasingly popular in recent years as rehab entrepreneurs attempt to circumvent declining reimbursement rates. Some clinics have adopted a hybrid model, contracting with certain insurance providers while also offering cash pay options.
If you aren’t ready to take the plunge into cash pay practice, perhaps you’ll choose to diversify by offering wellness services alongside traditional therapy treatments. If the CoVid-19 pandemic showed you that you have a knack for tele-rehabilitation, you can take advantage of the new remote therapeutic monitoring codes that CMS will begin reimbursing in 2022.
Regardless of the diversification method you choose, commit to adding at least one new revenue stream to your practice in 2022. If you’re looking for more ways to grow your practice this year, contact us and learn more about how AC Health can increase patient referrals and help your practice thrive!