It’s no secret that new patient acquisition is one of the largest challenges faced by physical therapy practices, second only to patient retention. Recent studies indicate that physical therapy completion rates are as low as 45.5%, with a substantial treatment dropout rate of nearly 20%.¹ Unfortunately, it’s not just patient health that suffers from this lack of retention — clinic health can struggle, too.
Patients who fail to complete their episodes of care leave gaps in the clinic schedule, eliminating streams of revenue for outpatient and private practice physical therapy. And without new patients to fill these empty spots and regain lost funds, the clinic as a whole can suffer. To bring in more revenue, and improve patient retention and acquisition, it’s paramount that clinicians communicate the value of physical therapy to both new and recurring patients alike.
Take a look at just how important it is to communicate the value of physical therapy, as well as how physical therapy marketing and software solutions can help express value to boost patient acquisition and retention.
Importance of Communicating Value to Retain Current Patients
Patient retention at outpatient physical therapy and direct access physical therapy has struggled over the past 15 months. Recent data revealed that more than 41% of patients skipped medical care in the early months of the pandemic, with 58% of patients forgoing scheduled preventative care.² Between fear of COVID-19 exposure and financial repercussions of the pandemic, many believed their condition was not worth continuing treatment.³
However, there’s a multitude of other reasons why patients may not complete physical therapy treatment:
- They lose insurance
- They aren’t engaged
- They don’t think it’s working
- They are busy and don’t prioritize their health
For the majority of the above reasons, a thorough lesson in the value of PT might help.
How to Engage Current Patients
Current patients must remain engaged with their care to feel motivated to continue treatment. Highly engaged patients are two or more times as likely to know about the treatment guidelines for their condition and deliberately seek health information, including how long it takes to progress.⁴ Yet to remain engaged, patients must be able to understand the true value of the services they’re receiving.
To improve how your clinic communicates the value of PT, start by leveraging your practice management software. Tools like FOTO (Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes) manage and track patient outcomes to help facilitate the conversation with data and prove the value of treatment by showing exactly how it’s working. Clinicians can also harness this data in their physical therapy marketing, sending routine educational and appointment reminder emails.
Significance of Communicating Value to Acquire New Patients
Unless your business is direct access physical therapy, chances are that your new patients stem from tons of referrals. After all, the rate of primary care physician referrals for physical therapy tops off at more than 5.1 million each year.⁵ However, to cast a wider net on the potential market, there are several steps clinicians can take to speak to the value of physical therapy beyond healing accident injuries.
Similar to therapeutic massage, physical therapy can — and should — be used preventatively. By marketing your physical therapy practice for preventive care as opposed to strictly injury care, you open your doors to a significant number of additional patients. For instance, avid runners, bikers, hikers, and other active individuals can appreciate the value preventative physical therapy can add to their fast-paced lifestyle.
How to Market to New Patients
Physical therapy marketing plays a major role in securing new patients. Through email newsletters, social media posts, and additional forms of content marketing, a clinic can communicate the value of PT beyond injury care. And by communicating the value to people outside of those who need it, you can unlock new streams of revenue for your practice.
Ways to harness physical therapy marketing for new patients include:
- Partnering with retail environments, organizations, activity clubs, or local fairs to engage an untapped audience segment
- Speaking to the societal value of PT, so that community members learn that a healthy lifestyle equals more time spent with family, friends, and loved ones
- Targeting those with active or rugged lifestyles to express how preventative physical therapy can better overall health
Communicate the Value of PT with Trusted Tools
Both physical therapy marketing and practice management software are irreplaceable tools for communicating the value of physical therapy. Leverage data powered by FOTO (Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes) software to begin to have meaningful conversations with patients that truly express the value of PT. Keep patients engaged and remain top of mind with Net Health Digital Marketing Solutions and Net Health Therapy for Outpatient that spread your message far and wide.
To ramp up patient retention as well as patient acquisition, discover how the Net Health therapy suite of trusted tools can help.
4 Patient Retention Strategies for Outpatient Therapy
¹ Marquette University, “Predictors of Retention in Physical Therapy: Client-, Disease-, and Treatment-Related Factors,” July 2021.
², ³ American Medical Association, “Why 41% of Patients Have Skipped Care During COVID-19 Pandemic,” February 15, 2021.
⁴ Health Affairs, “What The Evidence Shows About Patient Activation: Better Health Outcomes And Care Experiences; Fewer Data On Costs,” February 2013.
⁵ Journal of General Internal Medicine, “Primary Care Physician Referral to Physical Therapy for Musculoskeletal Conditions,” April 5, 2018.
⁶ Becker’s Hospital Review, “3 Important Statistics About Provider Referrals,” August 16, 2016.