Time is money, but as we’ve learned, not all time is created equal.
This is especially true in the world of physical therapy where face time with patients is precious (and more lucrative) than time spent on paperwork. While we can’t get more hours in the day, modern technology has made it possible for us to manage our time better, eliminating time spent on tedious tasks and freeing up time in our schedules.
Time management has become a roadblock for PTs who see a dozen or more patients back-to-back in a day, leading to fatigue and burnout. As the owner of a clinic, it’s important to ensure you’re alleviating the barriers holding your top performers back.
The case for telehealth
In 2016, 15% of physicians worked in practices that used telehealth, according to a 2018 American Medical Association survey. While health care has been slow to adopt, telehealth has grown by 44% in the last five years.
We expect this number to continue climbing, and clinics that choose to not adopt a more modern way to communicate with their patients will almost certainly fall behind, especially as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalizes its policy allowing Medicaid Advantage plans to include telehealth benefits. Steven Ross Johnson hits the nail on the head in his article for Modern Healthcare:
“But many healthcare providers and administrators are not eager to upend their standard model for care delivery, which likely has been in place for decades. As a result, only a fraction of hospitals and health systems have adopted telemedicine, which in the coming years could cause them to lose patients to the burgeoning market of convenient-care options.”
As margins are squeezed, clinic owners are seeking unique investments to make best use of the resources at their fingertips to save time and maximize return on investment.
The time-saving benefits of telehealth
Your clinic is already battling time issues, and while implementing a solution may take some time up front, it will save your practice in the long run:
No more file cabinet shuffle: Telehealth is taking the guessing game out of physical therapy. With In Hand Health’s dashboard, PTs can now view exactly where a patient is in their course of care and whether they’ve been completing exercises to better prepare for patient visits.
PT clinics strive to improve patient health and quality of life, and this shouldn’t stop once they’re discharged from physical therapy. With telehealth, you can continue to provide value to former patients to keep them healthy and mobile, while also developing a relationship that encourages them to return when the next issue arises.
Whether it’s a high school football team, a ballet school, or a group of individuals with back problems, most clinics see numerous patients battling similar injuries or needing similar exercise plans. With telehealth, you can use a one-to-many capability, sending messages to the full group at once and significantly cutting down on time wasted on multiple correspondences or repetitive questions.
Most PTs schedule their appointments in back-to-back 45-minute blocks or are double booked, and nearly every second is accounted for. As margins are continually squeezed and PTs are being spread thin to meet both clinic and patient demands, a missed appointment is money being thrown out the window. Telehealth allows your PTs to reclaim those 45 minutes by corresponding directly with patients through the platform, providing exercise that will carry patients over to their next visit without losing progress.
Being live on the phone or buried in an inbox is the worst place for a PT who is only paid for the time they see patients. Telehealth allows your practice to cut back on disruptive communication, saving time. All active patient communications can be consolidated on a dashboard, allowing the practice to work together to address questions as they arise quickly and efficiently. No more lengthy stints checking voicemail, emails and texts.
Not only do file cabinets take up valuable real estate, they’re also an inefficient way to store exercises, resources, templates and protocols. Documentation can take up considerable time, but with In Hand Health, all these documents live digitally in the system, avoiding redundancy and allowing for easy distribution to patients—all at the click of a button.
As an owner, you want your patients to have questions and reach out. As a PT, you don’t want to spend all day answering questions over the phone or filling out paperwork. There’s a way to reclaim valuable time during the work day and remove the barriers holding your team back. Contact us to see how In Hand Health can improve your practice.
Michael J. Gassman is the founder of In Hand Health, an app-based software solution helping PT clinics thrive on three things: creating a dynamic patient experience; strengthening the relationships between PTs and patients; and increasing profitability. Share your thoughts about how PT clinics can develop a personalized experience on Facebook and Twitter.