Physical Therapy Software Patient Education Promotes Compliance


A Handshake

Will collaboration lead to improvement, or should Shannon take a more aggressive path?

Teresa and Tana looked up when Shannon arrived the next day — and then exchanged looks.

Shannon felt her muscles tense, but then decided that she wasn’t going to get defensive. They were all on the same side, and they could work together to come up with the best solution.

“Good morning!” she smiled. “What are you two talking about?”

“Tana was just lobbying,” Teresa said with a smile.

“I’m talking about noncompliant patients,” Tana jumped in. “I think they affect Teresa, too, since she’s the one who has to keep up with scheduling and cope with no-shows.”

“That’s true,” Teresa agreed. “They affect all of us, really. Especially since they affect the bottom line of the whole practice. Tana was telling me that you think improved patient education is the answer, Shannon.”

“And I was also telling you that I have a problem with that,” Tana said firmly. “Patients who are open to education are not the non-compliant ones! The ones who listen to us get better results and that brings us more referrals. We should just get rid of the ones who don’t follow through.”

“Some patients may need more from us than others,” Shannon said. “The body is a complex system, and a simple explanation isn’t enough for all of our clients to understand why their part matters so much.”

“It still comes down to responsibility,” Tana insisted. “It’s not fair that they drop the ball and so I have to change my routine, add more work to my day, and–“

Shannon held up a hand. “Hold it. I was just reading a report about PTs and the importance of patient education. Tell me if you agree with their findings. It said that we regard patient education as a very important part of care. Yes?”

Tana grumbled, “Yes.”

“And that we are involved in patient teaching in some way”

“Yes,” Teresa said, more enthusiastically.

“But most physical therapists feel inadequately prepared for patient teaching.”


Shannon could see that Tana was getting worked up again. “Look, we’re all about improvement here. When you brought this issue up, it showed me a way that we could improve our practice. I appreciate that. Now we just have to figure out the best way to do better at patient education and help our patients help themselves — and us.”

“That sounds good to me,” said Teresa. “If we can find a way to standardize and improve patient education, that will benefit all the patients — and maybe make some of those difficult ones adhere to their treatment plans better. I know Tana’s worrying that it’ll be more work, but I don’t think it has to be. Better isn’t always harder.”

Shannon smiled at her office manager gratefully. “That’s true. We’ve never really developed a system for patient education and we don’t have any patient education materials beyond just telling people things. This could really be a good new initiative for us.”

Tana looked from Teresa to Shannon and back. “Okay,” she said with a smile, “I’ll give it a shot. You let me have some input on the system of patient education we come up with, and I promise to give it a fair try before I try to get Teresa to drop those patients.”

“Done,” said Shannon. She held out her hand, and after a moment Tana shook.

Will collaboration lead to improvement, or should Shannon take a more aggressive path?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.