In the increasingly competitive world of hospital-based rehab, quality patient care sets the best physical therapy departments apart from the rest. Still, it only helps to invest in great technology, equipment, and human resources — and ultimately, smart investments will lead to a better patient experience.
From basic, sturdy plinths to the latest and greatest in passive modalities, plenty of products (and people) will help your department thrive. Here are the top eight investments you can make in the coming months.
1. High-Quality Equipment
Are your plinths and power tables sturdy, comfortable, and well-upholstered? Are your assistive devices in perfect working order? What about your floors, doors, and even furniture — basic items that you take for granted but that can give injured patients plenty of trouble? If any of these items are outdated or in disrepair, they should be first on your list to fix or replace.
2. Up-to-Date Modalities
Some modalities have been around for decades (ultrasound), while others are relatively new (low-level laser). In terms of equipment quality; however, they’ve all come a long way in the last few years. To make the most of your patients’ treatment time, invest in up-to-date, clinical-quality devices. Any patient can purchase a cheap TENS unit; do you have a better alternative?
3. Reliable Documentation Software
Accurate documentation is critical, and insurers have become far more selective about what they’ll reimburse. However, even some of the most popular software packages are unwieldy, unreliable, and can be all but impossible for PTs to troubleshoot while providing care. To improve patient care and your bottom line, invest in a reliable system that rarely has hiccups or downtime.
4. Communications Technology
Similarly, reliable communications technology will help your PTs coordinate with one another and with front-office staff. Email and instant messaging software are excellent for quick communications during busy days, and intuitive calendar programs make scheduling and rescheduling a breeze. If possible, integrate these programs with your documentation software.
5. Easy-to-Use Websites
Depending on how (and if) your patients are referred to you, your website may be their first point of contact. Top departments have visually appealing, intuitive websites that make it easy to schedule appointments, find directions, and learn more about your services and staff.
6. Experienced Clinicians
The best equipment in the world won’t help if you don’t have great PTs to use it. The best investment you can make is to hire highly skilled clinicians who have years of experience in the hospital setting. Given the importance of patient-centered care, it’s also important to pick PTs who are as personable as they are technically proficient.
7. Continuing Education
Even if your PTs have decades of combined experience, they can always learn more. Patients and prospective employees also want to see that you invest in your therapists’ clinical development. Top rehab departments make room in their budgets for conferences, seminars, and certification courses, as well as the travel expenses necessary for employees to attend.
8. Helpful Staff
Finally, the best rehab departments hire helpful, reliable office staff to make their PTs more effective. From scheduling to billing to cleanup and laundry, they tackle the tasks that would otherwise take time away from patient care. By helping PTs help their patients, they’ll become an invaluable part of your department.
Your Long-Term Bottom Line
These measures require considerable upfront investments, but if your cash flow can cover the costs in the short term, you’ll see a major boost in your bottom line later on. Quality equipment, streamlined technology, and great clinicians all bring patients through the door and help you get results. Over the long haul, your stats, reviews, and patient satisfaction will only improve.