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Strategies to Increase Patient Volume for a Physical Therapy Practice

June 14, 2018

Physical Therapy Practice Marketing

Physical therapy practices often deal with patient volumes that change with the season, particularly during the late spring and summer months. With more school events, big milestones, and exciting summer vacations, patients often cancel their therapy appointments, and in many cases, they don’t return. Increasing and maintaining a steady patient volume is important for keeping your practice profitable. Learn how to increase both patient volume and revenue for your physical therapy practice with the following strategies. 

Strategy #1 – Build Strong Relationships with Local Physicians to Increase Referrals 

Even if you live in a state that offers direct access to physical therapy, the top source of new patients for physical therapy practice is still physician referrals. Think about the number of referrals you get every month. What if you could double or triple that number? When patients are referred to you by a primary care physician, they’re more likely to book an appointment and remain compliant. Physicians get great results, and you can use referrals to increase your patient volumes. 

What can you do to increase referrals from local physicians? The best thing you can do is build strong relationships with local physicians. When they need to refer someone to a physical therapy practice, you want them to immediately think of you. Meet local physicians and have friendly conversations to build connections. After connecting, make sure you maintain relationships, which can be done with thank you cards, newsletters, and progress notes, keeping your practice in the forefront of physicians’ minds. 

Read More: Specialty-Specific Medical Billing Service Advantages

You don’t have to use a salesperson approach with local physicians. Instead, point out how you can help them. Learn about their practices, how they’re helping patients, and present ways that you can help them take better care of their patients. 

Strategy #2 – Build a Patient-Centered Marketing Plan 

The healthcare landscape is changing, and according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, it’s no longer a “disease-centric process.” Instead, it’s patient-centric and involves patients in their own care. With healthcare now focusing on patient-centered care, it’s important to change up your marketing tactics to reflect the changing healthcare landscape. This means you need to begin use patient-centered marketing if you want to grow your physical therapy practice. A patient-centered marketing plan involves: 

  • Being very clear on the value proposition, ensuring that it targets your patients
  • Offering messages with intention that can be tailored to different types of patients
  • Using social proof to draw in new patients, including positive online reviews

Strategy #3 – Harness the Power of Online Marketing 

While traditional forms of advertising still offer value, if you want to increase patient volume and practice revenue you’ll want to harness the power of online marketing. Many physician therapy practices have a tight marketing budget, and your practice may not have a lot of money to invest in marketing and advertising. Unfortunately, failing to market your practice can have a negative effect on your practice. 

The good news – online marketing can help you see great results even if you’re on a tight budget. Some great marketing ideas you can use to harness the power of the web without spending a lot of money include: 

  • Optimizing your practice’s website for search engines. It does require a small time investment, but it can significantly increase your website traffic. It’s especially important to optimize for local keywords that bring in local patients.
  • Add a blog to your practice website. Blogging keeps fresh content on your site regularly and it also allows you to stay connected to current physical therapy patients. 
  • Get social. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all popular social media sites. Create profiles on these sites and work to engage with your current patients and potential patients. 
  • Use patient testimonials. As noted before, social proof, the experiences of others, can have a big impact on whether new patients choose your practice. After offering patients great service, ask them for online reviews. 
  • Create YouTube visitors. You can show off unique therapy programs, new equipment, or a good look at how you work with patients.  

Strategy #4 – Keep Current Patients Engaged and Coming Back 

While you definitely want to bring in more new patients to your physical therapy practice, keeping current patients engaged and coming back is just as important if you want to maintain and increase practice revenue. Some patient retention strategies physical therapists can use include: 

  • Setting the next appointment before patients leave.
  • Scheduling appointment reminders.
  • Keeping in touch with patients on social media sites.
  • Offering patients interactive home exercise programs.
  • Measuring the satisfaction of your patients to find out how you can improve. 
  • Automating communication with patients via patient engagement tools, such as patient relationship management software. This way you can send targeted messages to patients to keep them engaged.

Strategy #5 – Be Up Front with Patients About Billing Practices & Patient Responsibilities 

While you probably don’t love talking to patients about money, it’s very important to be up front with patients about billing practice and patient responsibilities to avoid late payments and losing revenue. Having a written payment policy in place is important and can take away the guesswork for patients. A good payment policy should include refund policies, list of insurances you accept, no-show and cancellation policies, provisions for payment collection at the time service is provided, and a policy for patients unable to pay off balances. Patients also need to sign an acknowledgement form. If you’re not getting paid, you won’t be able to stay in business, so having a good payment policy and being very up front with your patients can help. 

If your practice doesn’t want to deal with the headache that can come with billing and coding for a physical therapy practice, consider outsourcing your billing and coding. M-Scribe specializes in providing billing and coding and can take care of these processes for you so you can focus on your practice’s patients. Contact M-Scribe today to learn about how we can help your physical therapy practice with billing and coding as you work to grow patient volume and revenue. 


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