Is Self-discharge Hurting Your Practice?
A system to communicate with your patients at home can turn things around
Every physical therapy practice endures the self-discharge dilemma. Your ideal patient dutifully shows up to their first two appointments. They do fairly well, but you know they are far from 100%. You know they have 18 more visits covered by insurance. But you never see them again. What happened?
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Patients self-discharge for a variety of reasons.
- They didn’t want to travel to the office for more appointments
- They didn’t understand how to do their exercises at home or how the program was customized for them
- They didn’t have the time
- They didn’t understand how physical therapy can help them feel better
- They felt as though they could do the program on their own
- They were not able to measure their progress related to their range of motion, strength, mobility and functional therapy goals
- Their deductible increased and they didn’t think it was worth the higher out of pocket cost or co-pay
- They felt a little better and decided not to keep at it
What is the common denominator to fix all of the above scenarios? Communication. When physical therapists are able to communicate the value that their program can provide for the patient’s wellness at the onset of a care program, they keep patients engaged. When therapists can continue to communicate with their patients through remote monitoring at home – it’s a game changer for the entire practice.
Remote Patient Monitoring in Physical Therapy
Physical therapy practices can be transformed by adding remote patient monitoring technology to their toolbox. Not only do you stay connected to the patient when they walk out the door, you now have the keys to valuable outcomes data to help you measure patient progress – and demonstrate results to stakeholders.
With a remote patient monitoring program such as PT Genie, patients wear small sensors and follow a guided home exercise program on a tablet. The system acts as a virtual coach and results tracker. At their first appointment in the clinic, the therapist trains the patient on the exercises and how to use the system. You can then watch the patient’s progress in real time on your therapist dashboard. You are able to provide feedback and assistance to keep them on track.
Increasing Patient Compliance and Engagement
A study of 124 post-operative patients that used PT Genie showed that patient compliance increased from 34% to 78% using the device. Patients also recovered 60% faster than with traditional physical therapy alone. The study also demonstrated a 50% drop in pain scores and a 70% increase in overall patient satisfaction. PT Genie also helps clinics increase revenue by retaining patients as well as providing an additional revenue stream.
By staying connected with patients at home and actually measuring their progress, you keep them motivated to complete their care program. Patients can actually watch their success on the dashboard and feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility to finish. This data helps them understand the value of PT and feel a connection with their therapist that cannot be established with in-office visits alone.
Having patients that loyally report for all appointments was a challenge before the pandemic. Now, it’s like swimming against the tide. While remote patient monitoring will never replace the face-to-face appointments you have with your patients, it can greatly compliment your practice and keep patients engaged when you can’t be next to them cheering them on.