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Three Highlights from Our First Elevate Virtual Conference

Our two-day inaugural Elevate virtual conference has concluded, and we’re so grateful to our attendees, guest speakers, and the team for making this event possible. Thank you!

After 13 informative presentations, our guest speakers left us with a plethora of new ideas to consider as we transition out of 2020. Attendees learned about the 2021 Medicare and MIPS updates that may affect their business from compliance expert Nancy Beckley, Clinicient co-founder Jerry Henderson (PT), and the expert team at Keet Health. We also heard from industry leaders who shared their hopes and predictions for the future of PT and healthcare.

If you want to enjoy all our guest speaker’s presentations, access our Elevate 2020 videos. And if you want the highlights, here are three from our first Elevate event.

1. Lessons learned from 2020 and COVID-19

2020 was a challenging year. And both of our keynote speakers, Joel “Thor” Neeb and Les Trent, reminded the Elevate audience that with challenges come opportunities for reflection and growth. Three speakers shared the lessons they learned this year on switching to remote care and the role PT can play in post-COVID recovery.

The future role of telehealth

Dr. Kelly Sanders (DPT, PT, ATC, President of Movement for Life) shared the data behind telehealth’s success during the pandemic. Despite the challenges of treating patients remotely, Dr. Sanders’ team found that patients were highly satisfied with their telehealth visits and experienced improved functional outcomes. Surprisingly, older patients (40-60) preferred telehealth compared to the younger Gen Z (18-25) crowd.

Waystar and FOTO both released studies with similar results. So, what does this mean for the future of telehealth? Dr. Sanders explained telehealth is here to stay. And while there are still hurdles to overcome, like therapist adoption, telehealth’s results and benefits show it’s an effective solution that will stick around long after the pandemic ends.

The role PT can play in COVID-19 recovery

Michael Kamme (MBA, PT, Cert MDT) and Dr. Brian Krebs (PT, DPT, OCS, COMT) with STARS Northwell shared their unique experience being situated close to the first major outbreak in New York. As they learned more about the long-term effects of COVID-19, they quickly developed and deployed a program to help post-ICU patients recover their muscle strength, endurance, and ability to maintain oxygen saturation. This new program required cardio and pulmonary monitoring, which was new for the team, as well as working with a pulmonary specialist to check and clear patients.

Through this experience, the team believes PTs will continue to serve a valuable role in helping long-haul COVID-19 patients recover in the coming years. If you’re curious to read more about the program, check out Michael Kamme’s article on the BetterPT blog.

2. Physical Therapists as pioneers in the shift to a Value-Based Care Model

A recurring topic of discussion at Elevate was the shift to a Value-Based Care Model (VBCM) for PTs. As Dr. Stephen Hunter (PT, DPT, Rehab Service Director with Intermountain Health) explained, Value-Based Care is about providing the highest possible quality of care to patients at the lowest affordable cost to payers. And the secret to success in a VBCM is measuring and tracking patient results, studying your clinic’s data, and researching the evidence around best practices and cost-effective care solutions.   

Luckily, PT may be the perfect test-case for applying the new care model, according to Dr. Larry Benz (PT, DPT, OCS, MBA, MAPP, and CEO of Confluent Health) and Holly Taylor with Keet. The two discussed how PT is uniquely positioned to address and be a low-cost treatment option for musculoskeletal disease (MSK).

Senior VP for Hospital for Special Surgery, JeMe Cioppa-Mosca (PT), explained MSK affects nearly 50% of the population and is one of the largest drivers of healthcare costs for employers. Addressing MSK through PT is extremely effective for patients, can save employers money on payer costs, and payers are eager to support this treatment option once shown its success. “We need to see ourselves as cost-effective partners of payers,” Dr. Benz emphasized. “We’re not asking them for money; we’re providing them with savings and a higher quality of care.”

Dr. Benz closed his presentation with this comment: “I do believe our best days are ahead of us, as a profession, because more patients are going to ask to see us first. And we’re preparing the healthcare ecosystem for our profession. The tide rises with all of us contributing together.”

3. Leadership lessons on marketing, principles, and protecting your brand

Outpatient rehab therapists are good at what they do. But sometimes the hardest part of the job is knowing how to lead, market, and brand your business and competencies. Three of our speakers, Dr. Michelle Collie (PT, DPT, MS, OCS, CEO of Performance Physical Therapy, RI), Sean Miller (PT, with Empower PT), and Dr. Maggie Henjum (PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, Owner and founder of Motion LLC), provided their tips on marketing, leading with principles, staying driven, and building your network.

Marketing and growing your referral networks

For Dr. Collie, marketing is all about understanding data and knowing your patient’s journey to your practice. Every organization will have its unique twist to how they engage patients and which marketing trends they want to monitor. But if you’re struggling to think of how to expand your marketing, she suggests investing in patient relationships and growing your referral sources.

Engaging patients can be as simple as sending them holiday and birthday cards, interacting with them on social media, or rewarding patients who refer friends and family to your clinic. When it comes to expanding referral sources, Dr. Collie emphasized the importance of knowing your elevator speech so you can sell the benefits of PT to potential sources. She also suggested reaching out to other local businesses like gyms, insurance providers, or specialists that can serve as secondary referral sources. The wider of a net you cast, the more you will pull in.

“When it comes to marketing, please realize it’s not that difficult,” concluded Dr. Collie. “It just takes planning. You’ll be amazed at the impact you have. And be proud of our profession, get comfortable talking about physical therapy. You’re an expert [in your industry], so make sure you talk about it!”

Leading with principles and the law of entropy

Sean Miller has always been fascinated with how things work. This same fascination eventually drove him to systematically organize processes for his business based on fundamental principles and truths. As an example, Miller highlighted the second law of thermodynamics: Entropy.

Entropy states anything that isn’t organized and is left to itself will naturally become disorganized and go into a state of chaos unless it is reorganized and brought back into order. Entropy happens all the time, especially in business. Miller used a newly hired receptionist as an example. His practice needed to provide continued support and training to ensure the receptionist stayed organized, and their work didn’t get chaotic. By creating a “De-Bug” checklist for his front office staff, Miller could offset entropy for his receptionists without micro-managing his employees.

Identifying the laws of nature that affect your business can help you maintain success, but Sean Miller noted those laws don’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as the laws of entropy or gravity can provide all the insight you need to give your business an advantage.

Protecting and rebranding the PT profession

To protect your brand, Dr. Maggie Henjum shared her top leadership tips to maintain a positive and successful business. She first suggests knowing why you love the profession and what drives you to mastery. Focus on your purpose and mission, and know your elevator speech. Understand how your work impacts your entire community, and continuously reflect on your intentions.

Next, Dr. Henjum highlighted the power and importance of vulnerability to drive connection. Through vulnerability, you can build a network of friends or colleagues who keep you educated, humbled, and supported when you need it. For Dr. Henjum, one of her biggest lessons from 2020 was knowing when to ask for support from her network. Without a network of people to support you, it becomes far too easy to fall into burnout, which harms your brand and business. Through continued learning, vulnerability, support, and being true to yourself, you can maintain a positive image for your business.

A big Thank You to our guest speakers!

Elevate could not have happened without our lineup of exceptional industry experts and special guests. Thank you Joel “Thor” Neeb, Nancy Beckley, Dr. Michelle Collie (PT, DPT, MS, OCS), Dr. Kelly Sanders (PT, DPT, ATC, OSC), Michael Kamme (MBA, PT, Cert MDT), Dr. Brian Krebs (PT, DPT, OCS, COMT), Sean Miller (PT), Les Trent, JeMe Cioppa-Mosca (PT), Dr. Stephen Hunter (PT, DPT), Dr. Larry Benz (PT, DPT, OCS, MBA, MAPP), Dr. Maggie Henjum (PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT), and Juhan Sonin (Director at GoInvo).

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