Physical Therapy Billing | Would you pay for your services?

Physical Therapy Profitability: Jack-LalannePhysical therapy profitability really depends to a great extent on how much your patients value and like your services.Harvey Schmiedeke, President of Survival Strategies and author of Keys to Private Practice Success used to have a client in a northern US border area (p. 134). “Canada as you know has socialized healthcare, supposedly offering everything for free. The large majority of his client’s patients were Canadians. They would go through the hassle of clearing customs and drive hours to pay him $78 US cash for treatment they supposedly could get for free in their own country. Why? Because he had the reputation of handling headaches and they knew if they went to him they’d be seen immediately and they’d get better!”

In every industry, regardless of geography, referrals, word of mouth are the strongest and most valuable source of customers and patients.

What services could you offer to:

  1. differentiate and elevate your physical therapy practice above the competition?
  2. attract highly motivated and loyal patients?
  3. cause patients to rave about your services to their friends and families?
  4. add significant revenue to your pt practice?

For instance, can you offer any one or a combination of these products:

  1. Equipment, supplies, or supplements
  2. Massage
  3. Wellness and Fitness Program
  4. Sports Enhancements Program
  5. Injury Prevention and Ergonomic Re-Design
  6. Vestibular Balance Program
  7. Weight loss Program

What are the steps to discover or invent a program that would really work in your area while increasing the profitability of your physical therapy practice?

Some coaches and practice management consultants suggest surveys are effective means of discovery– but do they really work?

I doubt Harvey’s client surveyed his Canadian neighbors prior to offering his headache handling services. Ford’s notorious quote is: “If I asked my clients what they want, they would ask for a faster horse.” Steve Jobs too is famous for NOT doing any surveys and trusting his intuition.

Apple Computer president Michael Scott in 1980 wrote a memo announcing that “EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!! NO MORE TYPEWRITERS ARE TO BE PURCHASED, LEASED, etc., etc.” by the computer company, with a goal to eliminate typewriters by 1 January 1981.

In 1988, Microsoft manager Paul Maritz sent Brian Valentine, test manager for Microsoft LAN Manager, an email titled “Eating our own Dogfood”, challenging him to increase internal usage of the company’s product. The idea behind “dogfooding” is that if you expect customers to buy your products, you should also be willing to use them. Some people call this “do what you preach.”

Dogfooding needs to be transparent and honest: “watered-down examples, such as auto dealers’ policy of making salespeople drive the brands they sell, or Coca-Cola allowing no Pepsi products in corporate offices … are irrelevant.” (Wikipedia) A perceived advantage beyond marketing is that it should allow employees to test the products in real, complex scenarios, and it gives management pre-launch a sense of progress as the product is being used in practice.

“Microsoft’s use of Windows and .NET would be irrelevant except for one thing: Its software project leads and on-line services managers do have the freedom to choose.”

If you think about it, patients, like customers, seldom know what they really need or want. Surveys only help those who sell survey management services.

When it comes to your physical therapy billing and profitability, you and your staff need to be the final judge of your services. Steve Jobs wanted a computer that he would want to use instead of the typewriter. Ford wanted a car that he would want to drive instead of riding a horse. I want a software service that my staff and I would WANT to use to manage our company.  I want a blog that I choose to read it, that would teach me something new.

Think about it – if you cannot use it, why would anybody else want to use it? If you offered an weight loss program while you weighed 250 pounds, do you think you would attract any patients?

On the other hand, if your program was that good that you used it yourself, how easy would it be to tell your story and get paid for the your services? Would it really matter if insurance covered it?

Trust your intuition and you will have happy patients who tell their friends about your physical therapy services!