The number one question and concern of every physical and occupational therapy practice owner is always going to be “how can we bring in more new patients”? There is always room for growth and we always desire to help more patients in our community. Relying on a refferal from a doctor is great, however, you’re not in control of your own practice destiny.
Why not use your current patient caseload to leverage more referrals? Here’s a few ways to go about doing that:
1. Utilize your current patients to spread the word. Encourage (don’t bribe) your patients to write reviews of your practice and your team. Anytime I go out to dinner or stay at a hotel, I want to know what others think about it first. The medical profession isn’t any different. Don’t coach them on what to write, have them be candid about their experience and it will come off as more real and relatable to others reading the review.
2. Make sure the doctors know how great you are. Whether a patient referral comes directly from the doctor or not, utilize that connection you have with the patient. When the time for a follow up with the doctor (any doctor really), have the patient verbally emphysize to the doctor how awesome your practice is and how much you’re helping them achieve their goals. Clearly, pick your great patients for this job!
3. Educated your patients on what you do. Being in the physical therapy profession, I am trained to walk around the mall or grocery store and easily eyeball people that have gait deficits, postural abnormalities, or alignment issues. Nine chances out of ten, you can easily find or know someone that would benefit from physical therapy. You know this is true, but your patients do not. Educate them on what types or injuries or issues you treat and encourage them to bring people in to get healed by YOU. Most therapists get into the field because the love the reward of helping people and seeing progression; make that known to your patients and what your mission in your community is.
Being a great therapist and helping your patients to get better does not necessarily correlate into multiplying numbers of new patients; although I wish it did. If you just utilize what you’re currently working with, you can expand your practice without even spending a dollar! And word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind. Just think, that new patient walks in on day one with the preconception that you are the best at what you do; there is no time spent trying to convince them of that, they already heard the news from a real patient. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and those patients usually get better faster too.