Post-acute rehab is an increasingly competitive field, and today’s providers have to work extra hard to stay on top. Fortunately for patients, this level of competition has created a more patient-centered market where service and outcomes are constantly improving. Learn what the best post-acute care facilities are doing to satisfy their patients, generate referrals and maintain a consistently high quality of care.
1. Create a Patient-Centered Culture
In comparison to patient-directed or disease-centered care, patient-centered care has been correlated with better outcomes, lower costs and far greater patient satisfaction. Still, even the most compassionate post-acute care professionals may gravitate toward a disease-focused approach, rather than focusing on their patients as individuals with comorbidities, complicating factors and personal goals.
Cultivating a patient-centered culture within your organization is the best way to keep your staff focused on the patients themselves — and not just their conditions.
2. Involve Patients and Their Families in the Care Plan
Successful rehab requires a great deal of work on the part of the patient, as well as their family and friends. For therapists to make the right decisions in their treatment plans, they also need to obtain a great deal of information from their patients. Thus, the best way to create care plans that fit your patients — plans that they and their caregivers will actually carry out — is to keep them involved and informed throughout the process.
3. Use Innovative Physical Therapy Practices
Most post-acute facilities use a variety of similar, evidence-based practices and modalities. These certainly have their place in your therapists’ repertoires, but you can’t be afraid to implement newer, more innovative approaches. Dry needling, active release, kinesio taping, gait analysis and other approaches are gaining ground and garnering praise from patients, and they may be well worth your investment in certifications and licenses.
4. Document and Bill Efficiently
Documentation and billing certainly aren’t glamorous, but doing them well will set your clinic apart from the rest. Pick an EMR (or customize one) that works for your staff and patient population, and spend time upfront creating efficient, flexible workflows that allow your staff to get their work done on time. If your therapists are writing all of their notes at home, chances are your office isn’t running as smoothly as it should be — and your patients will ultimately pay the price.
5. Leverage Cutting-Edge Equipment
In addition to innovative techniques, cutting-edge equipment will be crucial to improving patient outcomes and reducing recovery times. Bridging the gap between manual therapeutic techniques and modalities is important in distinguishing yourself from not just your competitors, but also practitioners from other medical fields.
OTC Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is already popular among knowledgeable patients, while therapeutic lasers are gaining significant ground in progressive clinics. Diathermy is making a significant resurgence in post-acute care. Other newer modalities such as radial shockwave/radial pulsed therapy are also gaining acceptance in the U.S. Depending upon the needs of your patient population, you may also want to consider recumbent trainers, stand-assist lifts and other devices that make it possible for injured patients to participate in their therapy.
6. Maintain a Wide Referral Network
Generating business is a consistent struggle for many post-acute care facilities, even those that are staffed with skilled, experienced therapists. Great outcomes will ensure many of your patients don’t come back, and the only way to secure business in the long term is to network with as many referring physicians as you can. Are you on a first-name basis with the orthopedic surgeons in your area? You should be!
7. Coordinate with Acute-Care Providers
Similarly, you’ll need to maintain open lines of communication with the physicians, surgeons, nurses and other acute-care providers who treat your patients before they come to you. Poor communication all too often leads to misunderstandings, misdiagnoses and ineffective treatment plans, but great coordination can keep your patients on the straight and narrow path to recovery.
8. Create a Great Track Record
Finally, a proven track record will ensure a steady stream of physician referrals, positive reviews and word-of-mouth business. This will take time, but if you create efficient workflows, invest in your therapists’ skills and focus on your patients’ satisfaction, you’ll be fully booked sooner than you think!
You already have the expertise and experience to be a leader in your industry, and by applying these eight practices, you can claim your spot at the top.
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