If You Treat Them, They Will Come

Happy PT Month! Continuing with our topic of Key Performance Indicators for Therapists in Private Practice, this month we steer the discussion to patient visits. Keeping track of the aggregate number of visits is pretty straightforward and easy to do whether you use an EMR or are still on paper. At best, it’s a high level indicator of how your practice is performing. The more visits the better. However, to really get an understanding of how visits are effecting your practice, there are two key performance indicators that we track:

  • Visits Per Discharges
  • Cancel/No Show Rate

Visits per discharge is the average number of visits a patient is seen at your practice for a specific plan of care. If your practice sees a fair number of post-operative cases, one could anticipate this average being higher. Another example would be employing a certified hand therapist (CHT) who allows for more complicated cases, potentially increasing the average as well. There are additional effects visits per discharge has on your practice too. Some payers monitor your visits per discharge and your reimbursement rate(s) will be affected depending on what they deem as medically necessary care. Having tabs on visits per discharge will allow you to monitor patient outcomes better. A patient with a great outcome is essentially a testimonial to the physician (i.e. your referral source). Lastly, this metric will allow you to see objectively if you and your staff are providing the value that only a trained therapist can provide. If patients aren’t staying as long as they should, then you need to be asking why.

Cancel/No Show Rate is the second KPI with regards to patient visits. The lower the rate the better. It’s unlikely that a practice will ever reach 0% as we all know life happens. Weather, kids, the flu, and so on. However, it should be no greater that 10%-15%. If it is higher than 15%, as the practice owner, it’s your responsibility to find out why. When your patient calls to cancel, is your upfront personnel doing all they can to reschedule them later in the week? Is the patient a difficult patient and not listening to recommendations? Non-compliant patients are perfect excuses to reach out to the referral source and have them hear from you that their patient is non-compliant, after all no patient will admit to their physician that they’re skipping therapy. Lastly, a high rate begs the question if you and/or your therapists are explaining the value of therapy correctly and stressing the importance of sticking to one’s plan of care if they would like to feel better?

For an independent therapist, each patient walking through your door is an opportunity to provide the care you dedicated your professional life to. It’s your commitment that will turn them into great spokesmen for your practice and stay with you for all their rehab needs as they arise.