Physical Therapy EMR For Cash Revenue | Go Retail With PT Products


Medicare payment reductions have been continuing over the course of this year. There was a brief flicker of good news though. In the revised 2022 payment rates for services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), payment cuts were reduced by approximately 8%. However, we are still talking about payment cuts and not payment increases! Therefore, looking at alternate sources of cash revenue may be a good idea.

Cash Revenue Through Retail

Adding physical therapy products retailing may be one such potential route to add cash-based revenue. This offers patients the very physical therapy products and rehabilitation equipment that therapists prescribe as part of patients treatment regimen, thus ensuring that patients do not have to go elsewhere to buy them and that they buy the right products while avoiding mistakes in purchase.

Also, Retailization of Healthcare has been an ongoing industry-wide trend. Enabling patients to buy the products they need while they are in the clinic should be in line with the general move toward consumerization of healthcare. It could perhaps be argued that a physical therapy clinic that includes physical therapy products retail may look even more inviting and friendly to patients.

The retail push would also be supportive of the prevalent move to a cash-based practice to counter payer reimbursement challenges.

Market for Rehabilitation Equipment Growing

As an aside, the rehabilitation equipment market appears to be doing well. According to published reports, the global market is projected to reach USD 19.8 billion by 2027 from USD 14.9 billion in 2022. So, there do appear to be good growth possibilities here.

Setting Up Retail Systems and Processes

At the same time, a physical therapy clinic is a healthcare facility and not a retail outlet. Product sales is clearly not what physical therapists set out to do. Going retail implies that the clinic will need to work through some basic retail merchandising and inventory management questions for example product displays and signage, product pricing, product selection, what products to keep in stock and what to dropship, loss prevention, and so on. (For quick reference, in dropshipping, products are not held in stock at the clinic and instead directly shipped by the vendor to the patient.)

There may be the need to set up systems to identify how products are performing, manage inventory across locations, recommend the right products, optionally dropship products, and stay on top of revenues and margins.

Retail Point of Sale systems like Curative that are tightly integrated with the EMR could help and take care of the heavy lifting so that therapists could continue to focus on patients and care. Recommending physical therapy products and rehabilitation equipment would take place during the documentation/notes session and get initiated conveniently from the patient record in the EMR. Retail transactions would therefore get weaved into the overall physical therapy experience at the clinic.

To sum up, payment reductions are likely to be a constant feature in the coming years. Exploring products retailing may be an option to keep revenues steady and cash flow healthy.