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Increasing Physical Therapy Practice Efficiency: How to Do It

Sarah Lara

Mar 29, 2024
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According to Classic Rehabilitation, Inc., around 10-15 percent of a physical therapist’s time is spent on repetitive tasks like clinical documentation. Unfortunately, this means less time spent with patients and reduced efficiency within the physical therapy practice. As a result, patients could lose trust in the clinic and the practice’s revenue could see a significant reduction. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the efficiency of a PT practice. Read on to learn about these strategies.

According to Classic Rehabilitation, Inc., around 10-15 percent of a physical therapist’s time is spent on repetitive tasks like clinical documentation. Unfortunately, this means less time spent with patients and reduced efficiency within the physical therapy practice. As a result, patients could lose trust in the clinic and the practice’s revenue could see a significant reduction. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the efficiency of a PT practice. Read on to learn about these strategies.

Use Platforms for Online Scheduling

To make your physical therapy practice more efficient, consider looking into online scheduling. According to PatientPop, 52.2% of practices spend 10 hours or more per week scheduling and confirming appointments. The same article also says that 34.7% of this percentage spend 30+ hours weekly on appointments. This can reduce the practice’s overall efficiency, as not every PT is assisting patients in their sessions.

However, when your clinic has online scheduling, your practice’s efficiency can easily soar. It also improves the patient's experience. This is because it allows patients to book their appointments on their own and reschedule and cancel them if needed. In addition, by taking advantage of scheduling tools to schedule appointments online, availability on both the staff and patient’s ends is clearly seen. 

By taking advantage of online scheduling, the practice’s operations are further streamlined, increasing your practice’s efficiency as well as your physical therapy productivity standards.

Use Text and Email Reminders

Another way you can increase the efficiency of your physical therapy practice is by sending your patients text and email reminders. Remember, your patients are just as busy as you are, so they might forget their appointments. By sending text or email reminders, you won't just remind them of their upcoming physical therapy session; you can also have them send a final confirmation via text or email.

By asking patients to send a final confirmation for their appointment, PTs can learn which patients will arrive for their sessions and which ones won’t be able to. As a result of this improved communication, clinics can switch PT duties around, allowing the team to meet the day's productivity goals while keeping the schedule on track.

Cross-Train Your Physical Therapy Team

If you’re looking for how to see patients more efficiently, another way you can do so is by properly cross-training your PT team. When running a PT clinic, it’s vital that each member of the team has a diverse skill set. With a wide range of skills, they can cover different duties around the clinic. As a result, the clinic can run smoothly and patient engagement can be maintained even if there are absences within the team.

To cross-train your team, consider developing a training plan outlining the skills they must acquire. Additionally, you can also pair them accordingly for peer training. By doing this, you can foster a collaborative environment and increase team flexibility. Having a dedicated time slot for training and regularly providing feedback can also cross-train the team.

Delegate

In environments such as PT practices, it can be easy to try and do everything yourself. However, for your physical therapy practice to run efficiently, knowing when to delegate tasks and duties to other team members is important. By delegating tasks to other team members, the practice’s operations can be streamlined without affecting patient care. 

When delegating tasks, be sure that the task matches the skill of the clinical staff you’re assigning it to. This will ensure that the task is completed efficiently and effectively. In addition, take the time to leave clear instructions and set appropriate deadlines to prevent mistakes.

Take Advantage of Clinical Documentation Tools

A final method you can use to increase your physical therapy practice’s efficiency is to use PT documentation software. Full-time therapists typically spend 2+ hours each day on documentation. Unfortunately, a lot of that documentation time happens outside of business hours. Given that, it’s no surprise that documentation is routinely cited as one of the leading causes of burnout by therapists. For a clinic, the cost of burnout goes beyond just disruption to patient relationships. It also includes time that clinical directors and owners need to spend on finding and training replacements.  

PT documentation software helps address the root problem by allowing therapists to reduce the documentation burden by up to 90%. Most PT documentation software allows a therapist to record patient sessions and dictate notes, then generate a SOAP note and efficiently enter it into their EMR. With a streamlined documentation process, therapists can spend less time on documentation outside of the clinic and more time on patient engagement.

With today’s technological advancements, there are various ways for a physical therapy clinic to improve its efficiency. One of the most effective ways is to use documentation tools. If you're looking to improve the way you conduct documentation for physical therapy, ScribePT is the best tool you can consider for your clinic.

ScribePT is an effective documentation tool that boasts features such as one-click EMR transfer, secure hands-free recording, personalized draft notes, and even automated quality checks. Thanks to its next-generation AI, physical therapists can create fast and accurate transcripts to record patient sessions instantly. Request a demo of ScribePT today to see its capabilities and how it can help improve your PT clinic’s efficiency.

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