Stoking the Fire

A Letter from the Founder to the Industry:

“...It is about you—and your patients.

I wholeheartedly concur that rattling off a list of your latest accomplishments or awards isn’t going to do much to win over patients; however, I do believe that in the current healthcare environment—especially in the US—physical therapists must get comfortable with the notion of selling themselves. Specifically, they must embrace selling the value they bring to their patients. And contrary to the title of [his] piece, I believe it is about you—you and your patients, that is. We’ve been taking ourselves out of the equation for decades now, acquiescing to the role of ancillary practitioner, which is why many patients still see us as providers of add-on services—and many payers see us as costs to be managed rather than valuable members of the healthcare community. It’s also worth noting here that as it stands, most patients—at least in the states—don’t really know what physical therapists do, which is why 90% of patients who could benefit from seeing a PT don’t end up receiving our care. That’s tragic; and it’s a problem that only we have the power to remedy.

So, it’s about time we added ourselves back into the care equation—by not only recognizing what we have to offer, but also getting really good at communicating it. For clinic owners, this type of mentality is imperative to bake into your company culture. After all, in order to best represent your company, everyone on staff must understand their own value as well as the value your practice provides overall.

Embrace the sell.

I get it; most of us got into this profession to help people—not to be businesspeople—and sales often gets a bad rap. But that’s only because we’re thinking about selling in its most crude form: convincing people to buy something they don’t need. That’s not what we’re talking about here; instead, we’re talking about getting to know your patients as individuals—as well as your referral sources and payers for that matter—so you can decide together whether the value you provide is a match for the value they want to receive (i.e., how well you can help patients reach their “final destination” and have a positive experience along the way). The only way your audience is going to be able to make an informed decision, though, is if you communicate (i.e., sell, position, market, or however you want to phrase it) what you have to offer in a clear, well-thought-out manner...”