Creating a Successful Rehab Practice
AC Health founder and CEO Susannah Bailin recently ran an informal poll in a Facebook group for mobile, concierge, and non-traditional healthcare entrepreneurs, asking them what they considered to be the most important element of running a successful practice. As the results rolled in, she was struck by the consistency with which respondents emphasized the importance of developing strong relationships with their patients.
While this poll was small and entirely opinion-driven, it got her thinking: were the respondents onto something? What does the research say about the patient-provider relationship, and how does that relationship impact clinical and business outcomes? Let’s take a deep dive together into the role that relationship-building plays in building and maintaining a successful rehabilitation practice.
Using the Therapeutic Alliance to Drive Better Clinical Outcomes
As a clinician, you’re probably already intuitively aware of the importance of the relationships you build with your patients: you’ve clicked with a patient from the start of their initial evaluation and watched them flourish and succeed over their subsequent visits. Alternatively, you’ve probably encountered cases in which you and your patient did not connect well, and that patient probably didn’t stick with therapy for long.
A substantial body of research supports the critical role that strong provider-patient relationships play in promoting better overall health outcomes for patients. For example:
However, despite the strong evidence for the importance of relationship-building and communication in healthcare, the realities of daily clinical practice can make it difficult to prioritize these interpersonal interactions. Increasing administrative tasks and declining reimbursement rates have severely abbreviated the face-to-face time that clinicians can spend with their patients. Clinicians must focus primarily on collecting information and addressing a patient’s immediate needs, and are left with little time to develop a therapeutic alliance.
In a world of shorter appointments and growing administrative burden, therapists must strive to find new ways to continue to build an affective bond with their patients. The AC Health app is here to help: by creating videos with your personal voiceover and/or video demonstration, you can extend your influence outside the clinic and effectively put yourself in your patient’s pocket. The app also allows you to send asynchronous text, photo, and video messages to encourage your patients, respond to their questions, and congratulate them on consistent adherence to their home program.
How Strong Patient-Provider Relationships Can Improve Your Bottom Line
In addition to improving the lives of your individual patients, excellent clinical outcomes demonstrate your clinic’s value to your greater community: healthy, recovered patients become more productive workers and can contribute moresubstantially to the local economy. Your clinical outcomes are your practice’s value proposition, and as we’ve discussed, strong patient relationships help promote positive outcomes. Let’s consider a few other ways in which positive patient relationships help your business grow.
Loyal Patients Keep Coming Back
The interpersonal bonds that you forge with your patients can do more than just improve their individual clinical outcomes: they can also directly drive the growth of your practice. A strong therapeutic alliance can improve your patient’s satisfaction with their care and inspire loyalty to your practice.
Patient satisfaction and loyalty are key metrics in the modern healthcare ecosystem, with good reason: happy, devoted patients are more likely to complete their course of care with your practice and keep coming back.
It’s clear that most patients develop a connection with a specific provider: when a primary care provider leaves a medical practice, the practice will see decreased business for four years after that provider’s departure. Former patients attend approximately 17% fewer primary care visits after their provider leaves, and the replacement PCP will see fewer patients than the departing clinician.
These numbers suggest that stable practices stand to gain by leveraging the loyalty of their current patients: by leaning into these established relationships, you can drive higher therapy attendance rates—and thereby revenue—at your practice.
Quality and Convenience Drive Patient Attendance
In today’s healthcare landscape, patients act like traditional consumers: they do their research and invest their money with practices that provide quality, value, and convenience. If rehab practices want to thrive in the modern marketplace, providers must embrace this mentality and strive to provide quality and convenience in their approach to patient care and communication.
The AC Health app can help you provide the convenience that patients are searching for: the app’s secure messaging platform behaves like texting, a highly desired form of communication for patients of all ages. The app allows you to stay in close contact with your patients between visits: you can monitor their home program adherence through the app’s tracking calendar, modify their assigned activities remotely, and respond to patient questions quickly and easily, all in a HIPAA-compliant platform. Your patients will appreciate the convenience and their closer connection to you, and your practice will reap the rewards!
Don’t delay: sign up for your free 30 day trial of the AC Health app today and start forging stronger patient relationships to improve outcomes and grow your practice!