JAN 2017: Importance of Developing Mentor-Mentee Relationships During PT School

The Importance of Developing Mentor-Mentee Relationships During PT School
Lisa Peterkin, SPT

At the University of New Mexico, Department of Physical Therapy, faculty, staff, and students all understand the rigor of the program and how much of an adjustment it can be to start a doctorate graduate program.  It doesn’t matter if the student came directly from undergrad, from a different graduate program, or took time off between prior schooling and PT school; there is always an adjustment period and a learning curve for any change.

We’ve developed a mentor-mentee program for all incoming students who are offered the opportunity to request having a mentor from the class above.  Both mentors (soon to be second year students) and mentees (incoming first year students) fill out a questionnaire about interests, hobbies, and schooling background, and based on the responses, we pair people who have similar interests and we feel will be able to connect outside of PT school.

Throughout the program, mentors are there to provide advice and support to their mentee, and to be another familiar face outside of their own classmates. In my personal experience, having a mentor made me less nervous about starting the program, and it gave me someone in the class above to look up to if I ever felt overly stressed or anxious about upcoming exams.  It was also somebody who I could ask about tips for classes, certain professors, or even exams and quizzes.

Mentors go beyond our student program.  Our professors are all mentors to us every day, both inside and outside the classroom.  They are always available to offer advice or answer questions via email, or if we’re lucky, we can catch them in their office when they’re not teaching or in clinic.  We have a strong and close bond with every professor in our program that make it easy to look up to them as role models and mentors, which, in turn, makes it easy to reach out whenever we need assistance in classes or advice on a patient we see in clinic.

In our student-led clinic, REACH, a handful of our professors participate as the licensed Physical Therapist when we see and treat patients.  They guide us when we’ve hit a roadblock or jump at an opportunity to teach us new techniques during an examination.  Based on their years of experience, they also offer new and creative exercises to use with our patients, or how to simplify an explanation for a patient.

We also form mentorships with our clinical instructors who guide us in a more practical and hands on way with patients in the clinic.  During my first rotation, my clinical instructor helped me to grow and improve my skills in physical therapy, but more importantly, she taught me how to think outside the box and to get creative with treatment ideas.  I always looked up to her and she was always there to offer advice or to encourage me to struggle on my own so that I could learn from my mistakes or work through a problem, which I always thought was even more valuable.

We are surrounded by mentors every day, even if we don’t necessarily realize it.  It helps us to grow as students, future physical therapists, and life-long learners.  We learn how to learn from other physical therapists’ and appreciate their styles and experience, and some of these mentors will continue to mentor us beyond our school years.


Welcome

New Members to the bestPT Network!

 

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!

 
Becky Staudt   
Jaidy Matos
Tammy Duncan & Savanna Booker
Kid’s Creek Therapy,  Suwanee, GA
Amanda Newman
Brooke McAdam
Jason Piken & Kristina Borza  


Everyone Benefits from bestPT’s

New Refer-A-Friend Program!

Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!

 

Dec 2017 Newsletter: What to Expect When Starting PT School

December, 2017 Newsletter

What to Expect When Starting PT School

Lisa Peterkin, SPT

Everyone goes into their physical therapy program knowing that it’ll be hard work.  Knowing that they just spent the last 4 (probably a lot more) years preparing for admission and another 3 years of classes, studying, and exams. But no matter how much you prepare mentally and academically, you never really know what you’re getting yourself into.

Like many of my classmates, I took two years off in between graduating from college and starting graduate school. However, unlike many of those students, I continued to take classes during that period to complete any missing prerequisites.   I was still in student mode and in the studying mindset when I began graduate school.

As we prepared for our first real exam a month into our first semester, many students feared they had “forgotten how to study” and were very nervous about the quantity of information we needed to know.

Some people passed with flying colors while those who had “forgotten” their regular study habits received a loud wake up call that they would need to rediscover those old study habits in order to pass.  With the emphasis on quizes and exams during the first year, everyone needs to quickly “remember” how to diligently study.

Right before Thanksgiving break, we had our first heavy round of tests with 6 exams within two weeks. Everyone studied harder for our anatomy quizzes than we did for any final we had taken in college.

We looked at the second years, jealous that they were past the madness and stress of first year, wishing we could fast forward in time. And we continued to look at the second years in jealousy for the next 8 months. Little did we know, it wouldn’t get any easier.

After coming back from our first orthopedic rotation over the summer, we were excited
to enter a less demanding year.  We were also happy to be back in the city since most of us were in rural areas for our rotation.

Within the first week of classes,  though we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be a cake walk, we were all still optimistic that it wasn’t possible to be worse than the stress and rigor we experience the year before.   As the projects and presentations began adding up in each class, it was soon clear that this semester would be far busier than first year. Instead of spending our Sunday’s frantically studying for the week ahead (or playing catch up from the previous week), we were sifting through Google Docs and Google Slides to figure out which presentation was a priority that day and when we needed to meet up with our group members to rehearse and review.

Now that we’re almost done with the first semester of second year and we’ve had
time to reflect while eating too much food during Thanksgiving break, many of us have
realized that this year has been just as hard as first year,  though in a different kind of way. I don’t go home and have a panic attack about how much studying I have to do or how many tests would be taking that following week.  My stress and anxiety is now from the number of presentations I have to give, despite my fear of public speaking , on top of studying for exams, being a tutor, and working in our service learning clinic every week.

Now, we all look to the third years, who are off on their rotations around the country
and are done with didactics, in envy and hope that one day we’ll make it to where they are. Past the seemingly never-ending sea of tests and projects of PT school.

 


 Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!



Nov 2017 Newsletter: Teaching Documentation in a DPT Program

November, 2017 Newsletter

Teaching Documentation in a DPT Program

by Tiffany Enache, PT, DPT, Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education

Documentation is an important part of the daily life of a physical therapist, and APTA presents high standards in their Defensible Documentation resources (1) and also in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice (2).  These both serve as very useful resources when designing learning experiences related to documentation in a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum.  There are many challenges in teaching physical therapy documentation in a DPT curriculum, one of which is the variety of templates that exist throughout differing clinical settings, both in written template format and in electronic format.  Students in our DPT program expressed confusion when each faculty member introduced a new documentation template for their specialty setting, and the students similarly struggled to produce high-quality documentation in the clinical setting during their internships.  Our DPT faculty therefore sought to create a template that could be utilized across all physical therapy settings: from outpatient orthopedics to neurologic to pediatric to acute care.  The faculty standardized the way that we teach such aspects as goal writing and narrative assessments, and encouraged our students to be descriptive in the ways that they write about current level of function, motor control, and functional mobility.  With one consistent framework for teaching documentation, our students grew in skills and articulation, and documentation shifted from a curricular weakness to a curricular strength.

The final remaining challenge was to utilize an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to teach documentation.  Even though our students were demonstrating significant improvements in their documentation skills, the way that we were teaching documentation, as one student stated, “needed updating”.  In the search for an EHR that would meet our needs, there were several features we were looking for: 1) a template that was intuitive enough for both novice learners and faculty; 2) a template that included sufficient breadth to cover all physical therapy settings; 3) a template that encompassed the high standards presented by APTA; 4) an interface that would pass university internet security review; 5) an interface that would be compatible with the academic learning environment; and 6) a company that would be willing to price their product fairly, considering that it would not be used to generate revenue.  

The DPT academic faculty excluded many EHR systems due to price, a common finding being that there was either no price model available for a usage that did not involve billing, or the base price significantly exceeded the budget of the department and would therefore increase the financial burden on the students.  The next triage of exclusion related to the template design.  Now that our students were finally understanding documentation standards, we felt it critical that we not lower our standards in order to embrace the EHR world.  We became increasingly frustrated as we reviewed templates that either lacked high standards, did too much of the work for the student (thereby decreasing their clinical reasoning), or were not usable across different physical therapy settings (many EHRs are built for the outpatient adult orthopedic population).  We struggled to find an EHR company that was willing to customize a template for us, especially considering our financial constraints.

Our solution was bestPT by Billing Dynamix.  From the very first conversation, their sales team was willing to listen to our needs and offered to create a template that met all of our requirements at a fair price.  Even though they had never before offered their EHR for use in the academic setting, they saw the value not only in this collaboration, but also the value in educating future professionals in the field.  We currently use Billing Dynamix for various classroom activities.  For example, students early in the program will enter data into the EHR as their professor conducts a patient examination in front of the class.  This is an excellent introductory learning activity because the instructor can then use the EHR to write up his/her initial evaluation, then spend class time explaining their choice in wording, the location of particular content, and how a narrative assessment, goals, and treatment plan are constructed.  Intermediate and advanced students in the program use the EHR during simulated patient encounters, and are graded on their documentation content and structure.  Future hopes for this EHR include use at the program’s pro bono clinic.  We have been able to construct our EHR templates to give just enough prompting to provide guidance to novice learners, yet not so much prompting such that students would lose the opportunity for development of clinical reasoning and professional language.  

Thank you, Billing Dynamix, for this collaboration.  You are helping to elevate the standards for future DPT professionals!  I look forward to a longstanding relationship with your company.

Tiffany, PT, DPT

(1) http://www.apta.org/Documentation/DefensibleDocumentation/

(2) http://guidetoptpractice.apta.org/

 

 


 
Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!
Harry Morgan & Samantha Andrew
 
Mallory Boyd & Stephanie Petrycki
Bit-by-Bit Therapy, Ft Lauderdale, FL
 
Stephanie Grace
 
Amanda Newman
 
Walden Parsons
Integrated Mechanical Care, Sandy Springs, SC
 
Travis Smith
O&W Enterprises,  Stanleytown, VA
Melissa Talley, Roslyn Evans, Carol Howder,
Joanne Principe, & Lisa Ingenito
 

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

 


 Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!



Oct 2017 Newsletter: How the Cloud Protects Your Practice in a Disaster

October, 2017 Newsletter

Protected by the Cloud

The Cloud Protects Practices From Mother Nature

by Terry Douglas

As Irma devastated Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts, I was reminded of how valuable it is to have your entire practice’s data securely stored in the cloud-far away from the rain, devastating winds, and storm surge.
With the destruction left in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, it is wonderful to know that cloud technology is helping people worry less and avoid further damage.
Here are four disasters modern medical practices across the southern U.S. will sidestep in the storm aftermath…

 


 
Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!
Tiffany Enache
University Of New Mexico,  Albuquerque, NM
 
Vanessa Ruiz
 
Angelina Ferrel
Melwood Rehabilitation Center, Upper Marlboro, MD
 
Chelsea Parson
Asbury University, Wilmore, KY
 
Margot Connole
Health Rehab Solutions,  Kalispell, MT
 
Jamal Alian and Robin Walker
Basis Whole Body Wellness, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
 

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.


 Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!



Sept. 2017 Newsletter: 7 Ways to Build a Sales Culture Within Your Practice

September, 2017 Newsletter

Build sales culture within physical therapy PT practice

7 Ways to Build a Sales Culture Within Your Practice

by Erika Trimble

Very often, clinic owners want to know how to get their team to help increase revenues. So, we talk about how to get their clinicians and support teams involved in sales to establish a sales culture within the practice.

This is no easy task and the chances of success are very much tied up with the attitudes, behaviors and values of the team. For example, if some of the team feel this is not their role or that ‘sales’ is an offensive term in a professional environment, they will simply sabotage their own and, worse, everybody else’s efforts.

Providing team members are all willing to put their collective efforts into improving the performance of their clinic, there are some simple things the clinic owner and the team can do to help create a sales culture.

Here are my top seven:

  1. The leader takes responsibility for maintaining the energy and positive vibe in the practice (and when they are away, someone else steps into their shoes to do this), so the practice has an upbeat atmosphere. No complaining, no sour faces… The leader is present, visible, focused and energetic.
  2. The leader sets out the practice values. These might include: Always doing the right thing for patients, always keeping patients informed on choices and fees, running on time, providing high quality treatments, always seeing patients who are in pain.
  3. The team shares clear sales targets. These will include: average daily yield, average treatment plan value and conversion, inquiry conversions. The team clearly understands the value of follow-through and follow-up.
  4. There is a reward structure in place that rewards the whole team for the practice’s success.
  5. There is a data stream that allows everyone to understand how well the practice is doing in real time and where the roadblocks are. The practice team is always learning from this data.
  6. The customer service is exemplary and driven by established processes. Team members have permission to go above and beyond process and offer remarkable service, so that patients are truly delighted with their experience.
  7. There is no sales prevention going on such as: unanswered telephone calls and emails, patients not knowing the cost of the planned treatment, treatment plans posted weeks after the consultation, a radio at reception playing Heart FM, faded blue-tacked messages throughout the practice telling patients off…

And an extra one:

All the team (including the owner) have fantastic posture, modeling what they teach, and dress in a smart professional way.

If you would like some help building a sales culture in your practice please get in touch with Erika Trimble at www.prosperousphysicaltherapy.com

 


 
136 New members joined bestPT in August, 2017.
Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!
2018, 2019, and 2020 Graduating Classes and Faculty
Albuquerque, NM
 
Brooke Weber
 
Elizabeth Stumper
Bit-By-Bit Therapy,  Ft Lauderdale, FL
 
Lauren Cabral
 
Tawnya Feeney, Leslie Armstrong, & Elizabeth Navarro
Health Rehab Solutions,  Kalispell, MT
 
Kelsie Huey
 
Randi McGeehan
 

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

 Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!



August 2017 bestPT Newsletter: Persisting Problems with Leftover Prescriptions

August, 2017 Newsletter

Leftover opiods are a common problem after surgery.

by Lindsey Tanner

CHICAGO — Surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store the remaining pills improperly at home, a study suggests.

The research raises concerns about over prescribing addictive medicine that could end in the wrong hands…

 


 

6 New members joined bestPT  in July 2017.

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

 

Let’s welcome bestPT newest members!

Samantha Monahan of Bassett Physical Therapy, Stanleytown, VA

Sopia Polanco of Bit-By-Bit, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Christa Johnson of Comprehensive Hand & Rehabilitation Waterford, MI

Shalaina Russell of Kalispell Rehab, Kalispell, MT

Michele Kurkowski of Kiwi PT, Highland, MI

Norma Garcia of Two Trees Physical Therapy & Wellness, Ventura, CA


 Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each friend that you refer that joins our network, we’ll credit you $50 each month the office is contracted with us through the first year!

What Do Successful Practice Owners Have in Common?

So many struggling  physical therapy practice owners focus all of their attention just on the critical tasks that must be done and, often times, little else.   Things like compliance, providing a support team, ensuring the clinic is equipped and functional, getting patients documented, and paying the team and the suppliers consume all of the owners time and attention.  

This means that some areas of the business, such as financial control, performance reporting, marketing, sales management and having a plan for growth, get little or no attention.  The result is a gentle, persistent decline in the practice size, turnover, profitability and value.

Click to read more about the 15 things successful practices owners have in common.  

KEY HABITS FOR SUCCESS IN 2017

What are the habits that a physical therapist needs to accelerate their progress towards success? Working with some of the most successful clinic owners in the country, and by identifying what they want to achieve, Erika Trimble has identified what the 10 key successful habits are for clinic owners who want to live their professional dreams.

To read more, click here: Success Habits of Business Owners in 2017

Happy business in the new year.

How to Prepare for a Happy Business New Year

Prepare for a Happy Business in the New Year

In this current competitive atmosphere, what are the five things you should do to prepare your business for the New Year? Complacency undermines the success of your practice, follow these steps to avoid slowing down your business and to prevent your competition from profiting from your inaction.

Click here, Erika Trimble explains what five things you can do to avoid slowing down your practice’s growth and driving your patients to the competition.

Your graph will go up when you use bestPTbilling software

Why isn’t your practice still growing?

Have you wondered why your physical practice seems to have stayed roughly the same size for the past few years?  With only modest fluctuations, you have about the same number of clinician days, active patients, and the same turn over now as you did before.   And yet, it wasn’t that long ago, it seemed as though your practice was growing effortless, year over year.
 
It’s much easier to grow when there are fewer practices competing in your area.  There are more clinics now and the competition is likely going to become more intense in the years to come.  Despite this, there are practices that continue to see low attrition and strong growth.  How do they do it?