A couple of months ago I wrote an article about what one should expect from their physical therapist. I sought out input from several people for that article and in that process learned that expectations of clinic operations are also of interest. If you want a refresher on that article or never got a chance to read it, let us know and we will get it to you!
Now let’s talk about physical therapy clinics. They come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of customer service. At Positive Energy we are constantly striving to exceed your expectations – both in the lobby and the gym. Here are some things that we think are deal breakers when it comes to assessing a physical therapy clinic’s operations.
- Friendly and welcoming front office staff. This may seem like a no-brainer but it warrants comment. These are the people that you see at the onset and closing of every single appointment. Their influence on your experience and thus recovery is, I think, often under-weighed. We are reminded often how much a front office “cheerleader” can aid in a patient’s or athlete’s rehab. Don’t minimize their role!
- Action taken during your first interaction with the clinic. Whether you call or stop by the clinic, some sort of action should be taken on their part – whether it be as simple as getting your contact information and promising a call/e-mail from an appropriate individual OR as complete as scheduling out your appointments. You should get the help you need or actions that promise it is coming very soon.
- Open communication about expenses. While it is sometimes difficult for your clinic to know your financial responsibility up front (getting insurance details from your insurance company as a third party is more of a process than it is for you to get that info as the consumer), acknowledgment of such and assurance of future clarification is important. This allows you work with your therapist on the best plan of care that is sensitive to your financial commitment. The traditional method of sending you a bill after the fact is, in our opinion, less than adequate customer service. Communication about what you will be paying should be open and timely.
- Prompt and efficient overall communication with front office staff. Simple, right? You should get a call/email/text back when you are promised. Information provided should be clear so that you aren’t left with questions. Turn-around time for communication should occur within a business day unless otherwise specified.
- Efforts to accommodate your schedule. Scheduling can be difficult for both parties. When scheduling stars don’t align, the clinic should demonstrate efforts to help. Some things we do to show we care enough to go the extra mile are wait-listing options and independent clinic workouts. Each therapist has a wait-list and we record your specific availability; if/when the spot opens, you get a phone call (or e-mail if you prefer). We also offer independent workouts to patients when appropriate – the therapist puts together an independent treatment for you and you come into the clinic to complete it. This way you have access to equipment, can ask quick questions when needed, and accountability and consistency are maintained.
- Appointment reminders. Sure, we should each be responsible for our own appointments. But your clinic providing a reminder demonstrates superior customer service. We do this electronically with e-mail and/or text messages.
How does your PT clinic size up? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the above or any other things that may be “deal breakers” for you! We are always looking to improve your experience with Positive Energy and feedback is invaluable. Don’t hesitate to chime in!
By Lenae Sexton