Want Your Physical Therapy Patients To Keep Their Appointments? 4 Simple Strategies To Implement Today!

Want Your Physical Therapy Patients To Keep Their Appointments? 4 Simple Strategies To Implement Today!

As a physical therapy practice owner or clinical director, you’re constantly looking for ways to grow your practice. While your clinic may spend valuable resources on social media ads, content marketing and mailings, you could be losing thousands of dollars by simply failing to keep your active patients attending their appointments. I’ve outline 4 simple strategies your practice can implement today to improve your kept appointment rate and keep your patients on track with their recovery.

Lets get a glimpse of how big of an issue this can be for your practice! 

*Assuming a clinic that has 250 schedule appointments per week, an average reimbursement of $85/visit, and 10 days closed for vacation

  1. Remind your patients when their next appointment is scheduled! Finishing your session by simply stating “Nice work Mrs. Smith! I’ll see you on Thursday at 1:00” can have a huge impact on your kept appointments. It confirms that the patient knows when they are coming back and also allows them to reschedule in advance if the time doesn’t work fort them. You may also want to consider a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that will automate voice and text message appointment reminders. I encourage you to contact your EMR as this may be an add on feature.

  2. Make sure your patient has appointments scheduled prior to leaving! This is the easiest way to make sure your patients don’t fall off! The time and effort to re-engage patients who simply don’t have appointments scheduled can be daunting for your front office. The motto for our practice is that it’s better to be proactive than reactive! 

  3. Make sure your office administrators, patient coordinators and physical therapists are comfortable communicating your no show and cancellation policy to patients! Take time to actually practice this! When patients understand that the time scheduled is specifically set aside to help them, they are less likely to miss appointments. 

  4. Collect all over the counter payments at the time of service! Even if a patient successfully rehabilitated their shoulder injury, a bill for $750 three months later will leave a negative impression of the practice! While they may be happy with the care they received, they likely won’t recommend you to their friends & family! 

I hope you’ll find these simple strategies valuable for your clinical and administrative staff! The best coaches in the world have coined the phrase that “practice makes permanent.” At our company we make sure to review these strategies once a month to keep them in routine for our staff. We also leverage our EMR’s appointment reminder function and Healigo’s patient adherence technology, to help patients stay on track with their recovery. In fact, since implementing Healigo patient adherence platform in 2016, we’ve seen a 3% increase in our kept appointments. As the table above indicates, this is significant for our practice! 

I’d love to hear what you’ve found to be effective in your practice. What advice do you have for getting patients to keep their appointments? 

About The Author: Hollan Oliver, DPT, OCS, SCS is the Director of Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine at Elite Physical Therapy. She has helped Elite Physical Therapy grow throughout the small state of Rhode Island to become one of the premier outpatient private practices in the nation.