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As a service industry, stakeholders within private practice health care (physical therapy, medical practice, dental offices, or anything in between) notice a job well done.  Whether it’s a pat on the back after a good physical therapy session, or giving your patient your cell phone number after a medical office visit, it’s sometimes the little things that go a long way toward establishing a lifetime relationship with patients.

I’ve written about it before…you simply MUST differentiate yourself as a private practice, especially in this economy.  Patients and referral sources are becoming selective, and if you don’t offer something different, something better, something kinder, you’ll get left behind.

Take a moment to think about the opportunities that exist in your practice every day – the simple things like how you answer the phone, how your front office greets your patients, and what you tell your patients when they leave.  These little things make up the whole of who you are, and what your practice means to your patients and your referral sources.  It’s wise to put some thought into it.

Here’s a great article from PT Magazine that discusses some specific keys to cultivating new referral sources by paying attention to – and mastering – the simple things.

What that PT should do at the conclusion of any patient visit, Steffes says, is thoroughly recap the session, emphasize any progress made, reiterate home program instructions, and end by saying, “The next time you come, this is what we anticipate doing.” The result, she says, is that the patient’s or client’s “perceived value” of the visit will be enhanced–which, in turn, will foster positive impressions of the PT and of physical therapy on anyone to whom the patient or client subsequently describes the session. “Your patient isn’t, then, going to limit the description to, ‘She rubbed me,’ or ‘He made me do a bunch of exercise,’ Steffes says. “Instead, he or she is going to say, ‘When I first went in there, I could only turn my head this far. Then the physical therapist did this, and now I can do that. And this is what we’re doing next time.” 

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Tannus Quatre PT, MBA is a private practice consultant and principal with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a nationwide healthcare consulting and management firm located in Bend, OR and Denver, CO.  Tannus specializes in the areas of healthcare marketing, strategy, and finance, and can be reached through the Vantage Clinical Solutions website.