Before the pandemic, the physical therapy industry was expected to grow considerably over the next few years. But of course, 2020 had to throw a wrench in those projections.
But now as we near the other side of the pandemic, clinic leaders can get back to envisioning what you hope for your organization’s future. Whether your dream is a lofty merger or acquisition or opening a new clinic location, we have some marketing and valuation tips to share.
Create a competitive advantage with four marketing tips
Positioning your business for long-term success requires a detailed and tactical marketing plan. And by focusing your marketing on your uniqueness and doing some thorough research on your audience, you can create the competitive advantage you need to stand out from the rest.
Identify your uniqueness (or create it)
Ask yourself: what does your clinic do well? Offering a wide variety of services can be beneficial. But you can also grow your business by leaning into a niche or offering a service that highlights your therapist’s expertise.
Do you offer a service that isn’t available at other clinics in your area? For example, maybe you have a telehealth program that benefits rural patients or patients with disabilities. Or perhaps you offer or can create a detailed at-home exercise program, on-site yoga classes, therapeutic massages, or a specialized recovery program for COVID-19 patients.
Suppose you don’t have a special program at your clinic. In that case, another option is to lean into what comes naturally for you and your team, whether that’s engaging patients, creating unique exercises, or being active in the community.
Encourage patient feedback and reviews
Positive online patient reviews can be some of the best and most effective forms of free marketing available to your clinic. If a patient has had a positive experience, encourage them to leave a review for your business. Having a positive reputation is integral to growing your clinic, since the better your public image, the more likely you’ll attract new patients, new employees, and new investors.
Feedback is also precious. Throughout a patient’s care plan, provide them with opportunities to relay feedback to your staff, whether through an anonymous comment box, online survey, or by filling out a questionnaire.
Patient feedback and reviews also serve the dual purpose of providing you with opportunities to refine your business and improve processes. And when patients feel heard from the feedback they provide, they’ll feel empowered and might be more actively engaged in their care plan.
Understand your regional and patient population
As you start to research your market, consider who lives, works, and commutes near your clinic location. Understanding your patient population—like their average age, occupation, and potential social determinants of health—is vital for successful clinics.
For example, if you work in a busy downtown area, you might have more patients with back and neck issues due to office jobs and service jobs in the area. Or, if you live in a warm climate, you might see more “snowbirds” (geriatric patients that travel south for the winter) who have their own unique needs. List the patients that most often come into your clinic and potential future patients that live or work near you.
Create relevant resources for your audience
Now, take all the information you collected in the above tips and put it all together to create your marketing plan. As you start to understand your target audience, you can develop clinic services that target their needs. And you can lean into your uniqueness to create resources and marketing material that draw in new patients.
Marketing materials can include social media ads, brochures, blog posts on your website, radio ads, and more. If you have a service you want to highlight, be descriptive in your materials of how the service works and how past patients have benefitted.
Another trick as you begin to understand your audience is to create resources for the general public. If you’re seen as a relevant and authoritative source on PT before a patient needs it, they’ll be all the more inclined to seek you out when they do. Resources for the public might include a downloadable guide with stretches to alleviate back pain or hosting a community wellness event with other local vendors.
Harness patient outcomes data to grow your clinic’s value
While marketing might help you target new patients, harnessing outcomes data can be the ticket you need to boost your clinic’s perceived value. As healthcare continues to move towards value-based care and reimbursement models, physical therapists are perfectly positioned to highlight PT’s value with patient data.
(You can also learn more about collecting, managing, and analyzing patient outcomes data at our next Town Hall webinar on February 18. Sign up today to hear tips from Jerry Henderson, PT, and Intermountain Healthcare’s Rehab Services Director, Stephen Hunter (DPT, OCS, FAPTA).)
Collect patient outcomes to improve therapist’s care
Patient outcomes provide the data you need to analyze the effectiveness and impact of your services on your patients. You can collect data in various ways, including throughout the care process or at the conclusion of a care plan.
The goal of collecting outcomes should be meaningful data that points to your therapist’s effectiveness and helps you refine their processes. You’ll have a clearer picture of how patients feel their recovery is progressing and whether or not your therapist’s strategies are serving your patient population as well as you’d hoped. With patient outcomes, you can determine the best course of action for each patient diagnosis because you will have evidence-based data informing your treatment. And you can make educated decisions on adjusting best practices, refining clinic processes, or identifying common roadblocks.
How to collect patient outcomes
Clinics can collect outcomes either digitally or manually. Here are some suggestions:
- Outcomes management software: With the right software, providers can request outcomes from patients, and patients can report via an app their current pain levels, mobility, and other markers. Physicians can then ask questions for clarity or bring up concerns with the patient at their next visit. Both patient and provider can collaborate on the care plan and determine adjustments to help the patient reach their goals. Our recommendation is Keet Health, which automates these workflows and can adjust patient care plans based on existing clinic pathways.
- Patient self-assessments and questionnaires: Patients can complete a self-reported assessment either electronically or on paper. These outcomes often require a little more work from the provider, as you must track and analyze the data manually. Still, they offer an affordable alternative as you transition into a value-based care model. Common questionnaire examples include:
Use data to illustrate your clinic’s value
As you begin to collect data and refine your processes, you’ll start accumulating more evidence on the effectiveness of your treatment. You can use this data to bolster your marketing efforts (ex: “75% of patients report less back pain after four weeks of treatment”) and attract new patients. You can also use it to entice payers and employers to cover your services in their healthcare plans.
And when it comes to attracting investors or positioning your business for a merger or acquisition, outcomes data is invaluable. You’ll have all the evidence you need to show your clinic’s care value and how effective your team is at adjusting care methods and guiding patients to their recovery goals.
Grow into the future
While 2020 may have been a wash for many, that doesn’t mean 2021 has to follow the same trend. By getting strategic about your growth plans, clinics can differentiate their advantages from your competition, promote your services, and grow your revenue and reach using targeted marketing efforts and data.