Imagine if I told you that “2/3 of people don’t brush their teeth.” GROSS, right?
Luckily, that figure isn’t true. (At least I hope not.)
It probably has a lot to with the fact that every time you go to the dentist, they drill into you (pun intended) the importance of brushing your teeth. They provide specific instructions on why you need to brush, how often to brush, and the outcome you can expect from good brushing habits.
Adhering to a prescribed plan of care can be just as important as dental hygiene—and yet, 65% of physical therapy patients do not adhere to their plan of care! For a typical PT practice, this amounts to an opportunity loss of $250,000 per year.
So what’s the deal? Why are 2/3 of patients not following through with their treatment?
From feeling confused to a lack of engagement, there are many reasons why patients don’t adhere to their plan of care. But by following these 5 simple steps and utilizing my tried and true Assessment Plan Script, you can turn would-be lost patients into engaged advocates for your business.
1. Provide a Clear Plan of Care (POC)
It’s important to let the patient know exactly what to expect over the course of their treatment. When providing your POC, make sure it is specific and timely.
Ex: ”The plan of care will be 2x/wk for 6 weeks. Each session will be approximately 45-60 minutes”
2. Communicate the “Why”
Knowing the rationale behind their plan of care will make the patient more likely to trust you and adhere to it.
Ex: “In my experience, based on your history and what I discovered, I’m confident this is the best treatment option to get you back to [insert activity].”
3. Communicate the “What”
Patients are most comfortable with their POC when they know what to expect. Be sure to communicate the “what” they will be doing during their sessions.
Ex: “The first couple of sessions will address your symptoms, followed by an increase in motion and then strength. After that, we’ll focus on stability.”
4. Get Their Commitment!
Once a patient has agreed to a plan of care, it is important to have them fully commit by addressing potential scheduling conflicts that may interrupt the treatment plan.
Simply Ask: “Is there anything coming up between now and [end of POC] that will prevent you from committing to this plan of care?”
I call this “The Million Dollar Question” because it has helped owners generate millions of dollars in reduced patient cancellations, no shows and drop outs.
5. Schedule All Visits at the Time of Their Evaluation
The fastest way to fill the schedule with patient visits is to have them schedule ALL of their appointments (per plan of care) at the time of their evaluation. This not only helps to maintain continuity of care with the therapist of choice which increases communication and engagement, but also helps patients to manage their schedules and reduce the number of cancellations.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right?
Now that you know the key to retaining current patients, check out these 4 Must-Know Step for Re-Activating More Patients to get discharged patients back in your clinic.
By Jamey Schrier
PT, Founder & CEO, Practice Freedom U
October 24, 2019
4 minute read