5 points to make in your first contact with a physician
- Introduce yourself - sounds simple, but sometime people forget: try and make it memorable - look and act the part. Dress sharp, shake their hand, look them in the eye, wear a name tag (point to it when you say your name). Mention the name of your clinic but don’t dwell on it or try and describe it at this point.
- Tell them what you believe. Don’t jump into the what’s and where’s of your practice. “I am here today because I believe that I can make an impact on your practice with the way I provide physical therapy.” Too many therapists focus on patient care during marketing calls…in this regard you are a “Me Too” because EVERYONE gives good patient care (or so they say). Your point should be how you can make the physician’s life and his office staff’s life better. See example at bottom of page.
- Get him or her talking - ask an open ended question. “How do you make the decision about who to send your patients to for physical therapy?”
- Answer his or her questions.
- Ask for the business. “Do you have a patient that I could help you with today.”
Therapist: “I am here today because I believe that I can make an impact on your practice with the way I provide physical therapy.”
Physician: “I see, how can you do that?”
Therapist: “After receiving physical therapy with me, your patients are either going to be improved when they come back to see you, or I will let you know why they are not improving. You’ll never be surprised when a patient comes back to see you.”
You have 5 minutes….
So you finally get past the iron clad office manager. You’re standing in the hall. Your target, a busy orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to see you in-between patients. You need to make an impact and you only have 5 minutes. What do you say?
Connect with Physicians: how to get in front of a tough to see physician
So you have been trying to meet a busy orthopedist. You visit his clinic only to find that his front office staff should be protecting Fort Knox. Can’t get past the door? Show up with a progress note an hour or so before one of the more challenging patients he or she referred to you is returning for a follow up to the office. Let the patient know you are going to hand-deliver the progress note. When you get there, what do you say?
Who refers the patient?
The physician is in charge of patient care, but often it is their staff that makes referral decisions for lab, imaging, and YES! therapy. Find out who makes that decision and you’ll be on your way to getting more business from the office. Find out what’s important to that person…..is it availability? is it getting notes back in a timely manner? is it being on a certain managed care contract?
The best way to build relationships with referring physicians
The best way to get to know and build a relationship with referring physicians is to be a solid clinician who solves their problems. Be a colleague - when you meet a physician, ask about their toughest rehab problems and ask for the business! Don’t be a professional visitor in their clinic. Candy and donuts don’t get referrals….excellent outcomes and making their patient happy does!!
What’s the most important thing you’ll want to have if you start your own PT clinic?
Very simply, referral relationships. Now there are some things that you DON’T want, too….like a non-compete with your current employer and closed managed care plans in your market. But assuming you are unencumbered and have access to potential patients in your market, you MUST MUST MUST have relationships with physicians and others who will send patients to you to be successful. Come back - we’ll be starting a discussion on how to build relationships with referring physicians.
Forbes article, Top 20 Jobs for People Persons, is out. I see physical therapists are in there at #10 making in the mid- to upper $70k range for salary. Private practitioners can make more but have significant risk. USPh offers therapists an opportunity to have the autonomy and financial benefits of private practice without putting up any money through a partnership with U.S. Physical Therapy - our average single clinc partners make over $120,000.
What’s the downside?
Do you have an idea about how much time and $$ it takes to start-up a PT clinic? The link above will take you to an interesting exercise….
Take a look, complete the project, then come back and comment.
The benefits of private practice
The three benefits of owning their own clinic most often cited by private practitioners are: freedom to treat patients the way I want to treate them, autonomy in setting my schedule, the financial rewards of owning my own business.
There is some downside, of course - - and some risk. That to follow….
Is now a good time to start your own physical therapy practice?
When we talk to physical therapists around the country, one of the things we hear fairly often these days is, “I want to start my own practice, but I’m concerned about the economy and healthcare reform.” Admittedly, these are scary times and these matters should be given full consideration by anyone going the route of private practice ALONE. You can have the benefits of private practice without the risks: one of the great things about the USPh model is that it removes your personal financial risk and our PARTNERS have the benefit of unlimited resources to support them as the business of healthcare evolves. So now IS a good time to explore your opportunity to start your own physical therapy business!