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Physical Therapy Software For The Front Office | Making A Good Beginning And Lasting Impressions

physical therapy software front office

Let’s start at the very beginning, goes the iconic song from The Sound of Music. When it comes to the patients relationship with the physical therapy practice, the beginning is typically the front office where the first impression is made and often the last one as well when patients stop by on their exit. So it stands to reason that investing in the front office would be a good step when building strong patient relationships and cultivating patient loyalty. It would be an opportunity to bring in change and innovation for creating lasting impressions.

How patients are treated by the front office would be nearly as important as how they are treated by their therapists in their clinical sessions, this would correlate with patient satisfaction and by extension with clinical outcomes and patient retention. A clinic with solid patient satisfaction metrics is likely to be one with excellent reviews on Google and other sites, which in turn would influence new patients to walk in when they search for therapists online.

Front office staff also constitute the first line of defense against revenue loss by averting claim denials and billing snafus. Accurate patient information and insurance information collected by the front office would go a long way in submitting clean claims to payers. The front office also collects the patient financial responsibility, including copays and coinsurance, which goes toward the clinic bottom line. Correctly and fully applying insurance information and patient payments helps lower the cost of therapy for patients, again an area where the front office plays a crucial role.

First, the Processes

Streamlining processes would be the first step on the path to strengthening the front office and putting in place a people first environment.

  • Providing intake paperwork to patients before their first appointment to accelerate the process and raise practice efficiency.
  • Importing intake documents into patient notes prior to the appointment so that therapists could get right into the eval or treatment.
  • Instituting appointment follow ups and reminders to reduce dropouts and cancellations and encourage patients to show up.
  • Checking for information that is critical for billing including obtaining prior patient authorizations in advance from payers.
  • Verifying patient benefits regularly, even as frequently as monthly, to flag inactive insurance plans before problems arise.

Then, the Software Tools

Implementing the right processes in physical therapy software would help avoid scheduling errors and overbooking of patients by storing all patient information in one place and making it easy to view and update the schedule.

  • An integrated patient portal would enable patients to fill intake forms conveniently from home that would directly flow into the subjective part of the evaluation process.
  • An integrated EMR scheduler with automated appointment reminders that is built into the EMR would enable clinic staff members to directly pull up the schedule and patient chart.
  • Ready to access patient information cards and dashboards would show if a patient owes money or needs to schedule a follow-up appointment at the clinic.
  • Adding therapist meeting blocks at the top of the schedule would prevent vacant slots on the schedule by using color coded appointments to stay in control.
  • Automated benefits verification that is built into the EMR would automatically verify benefits using information already available in the patient chart.
  • Credit card payments processors that are integrated with the EMR would send card payments and other payment information directly from the scheduler to the billing module.
  • Easily accessible appointments along with data on cancellation rates and reimbursements would enable a real-time view into how the clinic is operating across functions and departments.
  • Collecting patient feedback through automated patient surveys following each visit would strengthen the provider-patient connection.
  • Review of monthly metrics and reports related to cancellations/no show rates with full visibility into the calendar would lead to a streamlined patient management system and optimal outcomes.

Getting the patient relationship established on the right footing would go a long way in growing a profitable physical therapy practice. With optimized processes and software tools in place in the front office, a good beginning would have been made along with lasting impressions for patients.