Some of the Physical Therapy Web Design Details Described in an Infographic

Nothing like an occasional visual graphic to help describe many of the things we consider when creating a physical therapy website design and what is included with physical therapy website development.

We like to describe what we do as a bicycle wheel.

E-rehab.com is a physical therapy website design and development company first and foremost. This is the hub of most online marketing strategies is the website. Practices should start with great website development first!

After you build the hub (i.e. a custom, responsive physical therapy website), practices can ad spokes – additional marketing strategies and tactics to reach their marketing goals…but the website is always first.

If you have more questions about how we can help, please contact us or request an appointment on our calendar.

 

10 Tips For Writing a Powerful Social Media Ad

Over the past decade, social media has become quite the marketing force, with businesses of all shapes and sizes expanding their ad game on multiple social platforms. But are all ads created equal? The answer is unequivocally “no.”

Physical therapy ads are targeting a unique audience – those in pain usually with movement disorders.

The Challenge with Social Media Advertising

The big challenge is that most patients don’t search for the help of a healthcare provider on social media.  This is where ads come in.  You put your message in front of a local audience that uses Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  You’re guaranteed to get your name in front of members of the community.

The only problems are that most of them:
a. don’t have a problem they think you can help them with,
b. don’t know if seeing a physical therapist is the right choice,
c. have to go through several steps before they become a paying patient.

You only have a second or two to engage the social media user, so your ads have got to stand out. While there are challenges as noted above, your ads will not result in any meaningful return on investment if they aren’t compelling, well-written, and have visual creative (pictures or video) that gets Facebook/Instagram/Twitter users to stop scrolling and click on your ad.

But how? Today, I’m going to provide 10 tips for writing a powerful social media ad.

#1 Don’t Forget About Your Brand Voice

You want your current and potential customers to recognize your brand voice everywhere, so consistency is key. If your business’s brand voice is light and carefree everywhere else, then you want to make sure your social media ad copy reflects that too.  Be careful with this brand voice.  Healthcare providers are professionals.  If you are going to keep it fun, always remember to be professional.

#2 Keep It Simple

Remember: you’ve only got a second or two before the user will scroll on and forget your ad even existed. That’s why it’s important to keep your social media ad copy simple. If it’s possible, for example, to take your ad from 5 sentences to 1 and maintain the same message, then do it. “Longer,” in the case of social media copy, is probably not better, but you have to test.  Only through testing short and long ad copy will you know what works best.

#3 Engage Your Audience

The real purpose of social media is socializing, so your ad copy needs to reflect that. Instead of promoting, promoting, promoting, you’ll want to engage your audience in conversation. Ask them questions, ask for their opinions, or start a discussion about a relevant topic and ask them to weigh in.

Yes, you can still advertise, but don’t forget to converse with your local market and prospective patients. No matter how you choose to do it, socializing is much more effective in helping you make human connections than just posting ads dry ads.

#4 Target the Senses

Enhance your social media ad copy with visuals like intriguing images or videos. Much of your audience will be attracted to what they see and not necessarily what they read, so make sure those images or videos are good!

Think about your scrolling habits. When you’re perusing Instagram, for instance, does the written copy or the visual image/video catch your eye first? Chances are, you chose the visuals, and chances are, so will your audience.

#5 Proofread and Edit

Nothing is more of a turn-off than an ad that contains typos. Even the best writers overlook an error or two, so don’t feel bad about running your ad copy past another set of eyes. Trust me: you don’t want your audience to catch them before your team does. After all, your credibility and professionalism are on the line every time you click the “publish” button.

And there are extra benefits to passing your work off to another set of eyes. For one, your colleague could notice inconsistencies with brand voice. And second, you could get a different perspective on the tone of your ad. Sometimes when we’re “too close to the project,” we can’t see where changes need to be made.

#6 Target the FOMO – Fear of Missing Out on Natural Care & Pain Relief

There needs to be a sense of urgency in your ad copy. If not, then what would stop a potential customer from scrolling past while vowing to themselves to come back later? Adding an element of FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is a critical part of getting potential customers to click and buy in the moment.

So, how do you create this urgency? Offer educational information.  If you are advertising and event, then use urgency and scarcity – deadlines and limited seating.

#7 Align Your Advertising

Instead of thinking of your social media ad as a stand-alone piece, you’ll want to take a step back and ask yourself how it fits into your strategy as a whole. Make sure that this ad — along with all of your others — is just a piece of a broader message about who you are, conditions you treat, how to prevent problems, and what patients can expect from your company.

#8 Your CTA

Once you’ve determined the goal of your social media ad (whether it’s for your potential customer to learn more, make a purchase, or refer a friend), write a call-to-action that encourages customers to take steps toward that goal.

Keep them simple and short, and make sure they deliver on the promise. In other words, if your call-to-action says “learn more,” then be sure that when they click on it, they learn more — avoid making your customers jump through several hoops by clicking on CTAs that don’t deliver.

#9 Use Emojis

If appropriate for your business’s tone, style, and feel, try incorporating emojis into your ad copy. Of course, if your audience isn’t in tune with emojis, then you should probably avoid them. But if you do decide to use them, make sure you’re consistent with which ones you use and how you use them. You can be funny and quirky and engaging if you choose the right emojis…but remember, you are a physical therapy practice.

#10 Analyze Your Ad’s Performance – Even the Best Advertisers Miss the First Time

As always, in advertising your physical therapy services, there is usually quite a bit of trial and error. If you’re not willing to put in the time and some budget, don’t advertise.  However, as long as you keep an open mind and a willingness to test, you should be able to tweak your ads to reach a wider or more relevant audience.

Once your ad goes live, take a look at how well it performs. Analyze the “why” behind its performance, and use this information to make changes to future ads. Then, analyze their performance to see if your tweak worked or if you need to make further changes.

It’s All About Ads That Perform

Of course, every business wants to produce ads that perform well. That’s why it’s important to assess your current ad copy’s strengths and weaknesses and to incorporate the above tips as you write more. Trying the new and tweaking the old is essential to good copywriting, and you’re sure to see results if you keep pressing forward.

8 Free Physical Therapy Marketing Strategies That You May Have Overlooked

Trying to put together a solid marketing strategy with a low budget? Sounds too good to be true, I know, but it’s possible with some consistency and creativity. Below, I’ll go over 8 free marketing strategies that you may have overlooked, but that — when implemented correctly — can help you expand your reach.

#1 Market in a Local Social Forum

It’s free to share ideas, right? That’s why, whether your marketing budget is limited or not, it’s a great idea to find a local forum where you can share your knowledge and expertise. As an expert in your field, you can answer questions, which is a win-win because you’re helping others in the group and boosting brand awareness and credibility for your physical therapy practice.

Caution: this isn’t the place to throw out a sales pitch. That’s a sure-fire way to turn forum readers off. Instead, include your name and a link to your website in your profile signature. That way, if anyone wants to learn more about you, they can do so without feeling pressured.

#2 Ask for Backlinks

If you want to rank high in a Google search, you’re going to have to have solid backlinks to your website. It doesn’t cost a thing to email your service providers and ask them if they’d be willing to link to your website. You can even offer to do the same for them. You can also do a quick search of your brand or company name and see if you are being mentioned anywhere on the web. If you find that other websites have mentioned your PT practice, email their editor and ask them to add a link. Remember, the more backlinks you have, the higher you’re likely to rank on a Google search, so ask and gather as many as you can!

#3 Host a Webinar

Brainstorm diagnostic conditions that will interest a local audience and put together an intriguing webinar that not only informs but makes your audience aware of your company and your specialty. Then, invite as many people as possible to join. Send out, messages, emails and text and post to your social media accounts. Call others in the community and invite them to join as well. Not only will you expand your audience with a webinar, but you also remind people that you are an expert (a generous one, too!) in your healthcare niche.

#4 Cross-Promote With Other Businesses

Ever heard the saying, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”? Well, that’s the essence of cross-promotion. Think about your go-to doctors. Is there a surgeon who you think trumps all the rest? Or a doctor that has done an incredible job of referring for you in the past? In exchange for their referral to you, refer to them whenever possible. You’re rewarding stellar service, and so are they, and the customer gets to benefit from the best-of-the-best as well.

#5 Do Interviews

One of the easiest ways to get in touch with someone new is to ask them if you can interview them for your podcast, YouTube channel, or blog. It’s more exposure for them, and it’s an easy foot-in-the-door to new relationships for you!

#6 Set Up a Patient Referral Program

With a solid referral program, you get to let your customers do the heavy lifting. Incentivize them to pass on your information to others who would benefit from your physical therapy services, and watch as your patient base grows.

#7 Socialize on Social

Find local experts, follow them on social media, and communicate with them daily. Get your name out there and build practice awareness by becoming a consistent voice in your community. Do the same with your customers and prospects. Reply to their comments, retweet their ideas, and answer their questions. Show yourself to be the expert you are, and socialize instead of trying to push your marketing agenda. People will notice your confidence and lend you even more credibility.

#8 Get More Emails

Email marketing is free and effective. That’s why it’s important to try to garner as many email addresses as possible. Trade solid blog content, valuable diagnostic or treatment info, or a free consultation for email addresses, and then group emails into the demographics you’re trying to reach. Avoid sending out mass emails that don’t address a particular group’s needs or concerns. This will surely cause your potential patients to unsubscribe or scroll on past your messages.

Sometimes Hustle > Budget!

As you can see, it IS possible to market your practice without spending money. Of course, there are tons of marketing tools out there that will cost money and give you great ROI, but you can also get pretty far with the intentional and consistent free marketing tools that we talked about today. Give them a try today!

10 Steps to Market Your Physical Therapy Practice on Instagram

Are you trying to step up your social media game? If so, be sure to add Instagram marketing to your social media strategy. It seems that virtually everyone has an Instagram account these days, and users are engaging more and more with targeted ads. If you’re interested in jumping into the Instagram marketing game, read on to learn the ins and outs of marketing your practice on Instagram.

#1 Set Up Your Account Properly

First things first. To get started, you’ll need to set up a PT practice account on Instagram. Avoid using your personal account to conduct business. Instead, make sure you have a practice account. You’ll stay within Instagram’s Terms of Service, and you’ll get more tools and the ability to advertise with your upgraded account status.

#2 Add Your Website Link

In your Instagram bio, you’ll want to add a link to your website. This is your chance to turn interested prospects into patients. If they want to learn more about what you do and why you do it, the link to your website will give them that opportunity. Since the bio section on Instagram has a limit of only 150 characters, you need to make them count, and what could be more important than a link to your website?

#3 Craft Your Bio

Like I mentioned above, you’ve only got 150 characters to hook new followers, so craft a bio that gives them the goods right away. Your bio should be straight-to-the-point, telling potential followers what your practice does and how your speciality treatments add value to the feeds of followers. And remember: Instagram is not a selling platform… it’s for socializing. So, stay ditch the sales pitch.

One more quick note: Remember to update your bio when you’ve got something new to share with your followers, like an announcement about the physical therapy practice, a new offering, or a big sale, and then add a link so that they can learn more.

#4 Stay Consistent

If you’re trying to increase brand awareness and engagement through social media, you’ll need to make sure your message, your bio photo, and your name are consistent across all social media channels. You want your prospects to be able to recognize you immediately, whether they’re scrolling through their Facebook feed or searching hashtags on Instagram.

#5 Learn More About Your Audience’s Engagement Patterns

Instagram Insights gives you all kinds of information about content views, website clicks, follower activity, video views, and saves. Instagram Insights allows you to understand what’s working and what’s not. Armed with this knowledge, you can adjust your marketing strategy to expand your reach.

#6 Socialize!

Like I mentioned earlier, socializing is the main intent of a platform like Instagram, so instead of trying to sell, sell, sell, just socialize. When people comment, respond! When people ask questions, respond! Give your take when an interesting topic is posted. Share or reference another post that you found interesting. Show your audience — not to mention, your future audience — that you’re involved, engaged, and interested in what matters to them.

#7 Create Some Competition

Another great way to increase your social media presence on Instagram is to hold contests. People love to compete, and they LOVE to win, so holding contests gets people involved who may have otherwise scrolled past your page. Create a fun hashtag for your contest to get even more engagement, and share the winner and maybe even some of the close contenders with your audience. What a great way to engage people and boost brand awareness.

#8 Add a Promo Code

If you’re trying to boost sales, you can always count on an offer to help you out. Try adding a promo code to your Instagram page (and don’t forget that link in your bio so they know where to go to take advantage of it). Everyone loves to save, so a free exam, or a free massage might be the very thing that turns a hesitant prospect into a first-time patient. Promo codes are also great for measuring engagement and sales because when the patient uses it, you can tell exactly where they came from.

#9 Tell Stories

Instead of relying solely on your profile to engage your followers, take advantage of Instagram’s Story feature. You can string your pictures and videos together to tell — you guessed it — a story about your brand. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at your clinic or a testimonial from one of your loyal patients, you can engage your followers like never before with your Story. A quick note: each image or video in your Story is only visible for 24 hours, after which it disappears.

Get fun and creative with your Story, and be sure to offer your followers something that isn’t available on your regular Instagram page. This original content will keep them coming back for more.

#10 Work With an Influencer

In the Instagram world, Influencers are people with special expertise in a given field, and their endorsement of your product or service is a HUGE asset to your physical therapy practice. Before linking up with an influencer, be sure that he or she has a large following in your industry and that they’ve got a track record for influencing others.

You can get an influencer to work with you by offering them incentives and free samples to try. You can also pay an influencer to tout your business. Either way, getting an influencer on your side can cause a monumental increase in sales.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re just starting out or you need to step up your social media game, Instagram is a great asset to your marketing strategy. It’s time to get out there and turn those likes and follows into new patients.

9.5 Marketing Tips You can Implement Right Now During The COVID Crisis

Tip 1: Update Your Website

  • Work on your message – is your home page optimized to convert viewers to patients? Are there calls to action?
  • Add a payment button – it’s an easy way to for patients to pay their statement online.
  • Add digital intake forms – these days, it’s much more convenient and saves time if you allow patients to fill out their forms on your website.
  • Add a store – this is a nice way to generate a little bit of revenue to cover some smaller expenses.
  • Update staff CVs – make sure that you have updated photos and biographies.
  • Feature areas of expertise, advanced degrees, board certifications, and specialized certifications.

Tip 2: Update Your Brand Materials

  • Refresh your logo – If you want to reopen with a more professional brand look, updating your logo is one way to do it.
  • There are a number of companies like 99 designs, Fiverr, or Logo My Way that offer various logo design packages.
  • Update your brochure – have you reviewed your brochures or rack cards recently? Consider refreshing them and clearly stating benefits and make sure you have a good call to action.
  • Take inventory of your referral pads
  • Create a digital business card – make it easier for people to connect with you. switchitapp.com/ is a unique service that provides digital business cards.

Tip 3: Use Social Media to Engage with Your Community Online

  • Create a series of posts to engage your community.
  • Boost posts to both your fans and the area 5-10 miles around your practice.
  • Post videos about home exercise types, home office setup, nonpharmacological pain relief.
  • Build your following with inspirational messages and a request to like your page.
  • Update your social media cover photos. Canva.com or snappa.com are good resources for this.

Tip 4: Create educational videos with your smartphone

  • What better time to shoot a video than now. Your practice is likely to be quiet so it’s a great time to shoot some videos. Here are some topics:
  • If you’re open, take some time to share how you’re keeping patients and your staff clean.
  • Create an expert interview video that differentiates you from the competition.
  • Discuss various conditions & demonstrate how you treat them.
  • Make a series of stretches and boost them out to your community – 1 per day for a month.
  • Contrast your service to other more aggressive treatments.
  • Here are a couple sample videos on the home pages of these websites:
    GMSPT.com | Procarept.net | Ptcare.net

Tip 5: Review the patient value journey.

This an often overlooked and a great exercise to map out all of the places/things that a patient might see as they move from awareness to patient ambassador.
Break down each touch point and examine where you might be able to improve the processes and provide a higher level of service.

Here’s a blog post where I discuss the patient journey in more detail:
https://www.e-rehab.com/2020/01/26/physical-therapy-marketing-strategy-part-3/

Tip 6: Review & Update Your Google My Business Listing

  • Review your process to capture Google ratings and reviews…one of the best ways to differentiate yourself. If you aren’t getting 5-10/mo (obviously this depends on patient volume), you are missing a big opportunity.
  • Review how it works – I did a blog post about Google My Business – click here to review it.
  • Add pictures – this is a great way to show others some of the unique features of your practice. Create a regular schedule to add photos and delegate it to someone in your office.
  • Update your listing – if things have changed in your office, update your listing. For example, update your business description and add in keywords. Add any additional business categories as well.
  • Respond to reviews – responding to reviews is a great way to show people that are considering your practice that you care. Even a thoughtful response to a negative review can generate more business. I did a blog post on this this with some additional advice. https://www.e-rehab.com/2019/05/24/physical-therapy-ratings-and-reviews/

Tip 7: Send Out Email Messages to Your Past List

  • Introduce the idea of telehealth and offer a free telehealth session.  Limit the time of the session to maintain your value.
  • Keeping in touch with past patients is a great way to generate more new business. Past patients are more likely to consume your content too.
  • Give them a combination of good will information…wellness information as well as educational information about the conditions you specialize in treating.
  • On occasion, you should make offers to your past patients. The combination of email and direct mail can be more effective.

Tip 8: Educate Referring Physicians with Research

  • If you get referrals from physicians, then take the time to collaborate with your referring doctors. Don’t be what I call a “physical pharmacist” and wait for the referral. Physical therapy is the best first choice for some many neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Make a point of reaching out to your referring physicians and send them a copy of a research paper. Put a post-it note on it saying something like – I thought you might be interested in this and sign your name on it.
  • To find these studies, do a Google search for a reference, add in the words PDF and often you will find that the document is public. Make sure you follow the necessary copyright laws.
  • Shortcut: the New England Journal of Medicine published an article with this conclusion: Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who underwent physical therapy had less pain and functional disability at 1 year than patients who received an intraarticular glucocorticoid injection.
  • Here’s a link to the article: https://www.nejm.org/do/10.1056/NEJMdo005728/full/
  • Look up additional authors like Julie Fritz, John Childs, or Gail Deyle to name a few.

Tip 9: Kill your Google Ads if They Aren’t Performing

  • I’ve run Google Ads for PT private practices since 2007.
  • One thing I can tell you, in my experience, most physical therapy practices are wasting their money on Google Ads because they aren’t managing them properly.
  • Don’t be afraid to either invest in having someone do them right or cut this cost and put the money elsewhere.
  • It’s highly likely that you’ll never notice you turned the ads off.

Tip 9.5: Look at your budget, ROI, and Opportunity Costs

  • In all of the years I’ve been marketing for PT private practices, I’ve notices that large percentage of practice owners don’t have a strategy.
    They pick a tactic and spend some money on it…often not even knowing if they are getting anything out of it.
  • This is a good time to take inventory of what you are spending your money on and making sure you are getting value from it.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater but make sure you have some key performance indicators that suggest you are getting a good return.
  • If not, consider spending that money elsewhere.

If you need help with your physical therapy marketing, we have a variety of packages that will fit the budget of any practice.  Click here for our package information.

Give us a call at (760) 585-9097 or Schedule a Time on David Straight’s Calendar by Clicking Here

7 Steps to Creating a Solid Referral Marketing System

Most physical therapist today would like an endless stream of direct access patients.  While this is a nice idea, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your number of new patients if you are not developing physician referrals.

If you’re ready to expand your patient base, then it’s time to create a solid referral marketing system. But before you can get started, you’ve got to make sure that the patient experience and your clinical expertise are worthy of referrals. Once you’ve refined those areas of your practice, you can feel confident about asking physicians to refer their patients to you.

Ready to get started?

Let’s cover how to create a referral marketing system that works best for your practice.

#1 Set Goals

The first step to creating a solid referral marketing system is deciding what your practice goals are. Here are some questions you need to answer:

Are you a new startup trying to create an initial patient base or have you been in the game for a few years and want to try to generate a few additional referrals?

If you’ve been in business for several years and currently have physicians that refer to you, this is a great opportunity.  Your goal is to get doctors that send 2-3 new patients per month to send just 1-2 more.

Do orthopedists refer out or do they own their physical therapists?

Physician owned physical therapy services, or POPTS, is the business arrangement whereby the orthopedist(s) have their own physical therapy inhouse. It’s not easy to get them to refer out because they will lose the revenue they generate from treating their own patients.  (This is a huge ethical issue more on that here . If they own their services, they refer more [reference]. Doctors are a powerful group with big money, a strong lobby, and a public perception of doing what’s best for patients…not always the case).

Are their GP, internal medicine, sport med, and/or physiatrists in private practice?

You need to know if they can refer out or if they are required to refer to their employer (i.e. a hospital that owns them).

How many new patients or additional new patients can you see (i.e. what’s your capacity)?

Knowing this along with your cancellation rate gives you an idea of your maximum capacity and helps establish the number of new patients you need to reach those goals.

If you don’t have referring physicians, then you’ll need to obtain a list of referring physicians from an online database service.  Here’s a good resource for that https://leads-app.infousa.com/Physicians/Selections

#2 Analyze Your Referral Data

Once you define your goals, you’ll need to determine how your referral strategy can and will help you reach your goals. Download a list of all of your referring physicians over that last year.

Look at the data. What does it tell you about your target doctors and patients? What kinds of patients come from these doctors and how often?

Answering these questions will help you determine what your ideal patients and referring physicians look like. This is the first step toward drawing up a strategy for referrals.

Next, identify the number of patients each doctor refers. Who refers the most?  How many do they refer per week/month? These are the ones who know the most about your practice, who send patients to you most often, and who believe in your services.

Finally, sort your list and determine who are the top referral sources.  These are the referring physicians you never want to lose.  They may keep your practice in business. Always assume your competition is whispering in their ear trying to take referrals away from your practice.  You should spend the most time on this group.

Next look at the next group of doctors.  Maybe they send 1 or 2 per month consistently.  This group is aware of you but doesn’t send many. Your goal is to try to get them to send 1-3 more each month.

Finally, you have the group that sends one or two patients over the course of the year.  This group is the last segment you spend time on.  The patient may have been the one that chose your practice.  In other words, the doctor may have not referred to you. Therefore, you don’t spend a lot of time with this group…initially.

#3 Equip Your Referrers

In Step 2, you determined which of your current referring physicians would be ripe for providing additional referrals. Now, you just need to give them the tools to be successful. A big part of equipping them to do the job right is to educate them about the value of a. referring to physical therapy and b. why they should refer to you.

One easy way to accomplish this is to visit their office and provide educational research about the value of referring to a physical therapist in the first place. The recent article published in NEJM is something you could easily print out, add a post it note to it, that says “I thought you might be interested in this,” and hand it directly to the doctor.  I also suggest you highlight key parts of the abstract so he/she can scan it.

If you cannot, put it in an envelope and write something on the outside of it like, “Dr. Smith, I thought you might be interested in this new research…”

Second, repeatedly showing up in their office, providing materials with your logo on them and your name, are good reminders that you are there for them.

#4 Next You Need to Differentiate Your Practice from the Competition

Once you remind them of the research that supports referring their patients to physical therapy, then you need to make sure they know what makes you different from the competition — in many cases, they’ll know this just by interacting with your you and the experiences patients have an report back to them.

Some ways to differentiate your practice are:

  1. Your expertise – board certifications & specialties
  2. Your location
  3. Your reputation
  4. Your clinical outcomes
  5. Hours of operation
  6. Communication
  7. Customer service
  8. Your fees
  9. Types of insurance you take
  10. How quick you can get a patient into your office

Don’t forget to tell your referrers what types of patients you are best at treating (also from Step

Last, make it easy for your referrers to send their patients to you.  Referral pads, business cards, rack cards, and brochures can help.  A QR code that patients can scan and those patients to your website is helpful too.

#5 Take Action & Ask

It’s time to put your plan into action. Grab that list of ideal referrers and reach out. Remember: your physicians may be motivated in different ways, so if you see that part of your strategy is falling short, don’t hesitate to change it!

If you are talking with a front office person or any other support personnel, then you need to ask lots of questions.  As the saying goes, you have one moth and two ears, use them proportionally.

One way to pique the interest of the receptionist is to tell them that you are an expert at treating the spine or extremities.  Follow this up with a complex question, one that requires the receptionist to ask someone in the back office to get an answer.  You might say, “My board certification was in the treatment of spondylopathy. Who does Doctor Smith refer to when patients have spondylopathies?”

Here’s another tip that’s equally important. Include the idea that you provide a “new treatment” to add curiosity.  Medical staff are interested in providing referrals to clinicians that provide new treatment options (high-intensity laser comes to mind).

Other questions you want to find answer to are:

Who does Dr. Smith refer to?

Who decides where the patients go?  If the answer is that the doctor or referring staff member picks from a list, then you simply ask, “How do I get on that list?”

I’ve observed a number of physical therapists and sales people (commonly and errantly called marketing people) have a nice conversation with a doctor but fail to ask for referrals.  This is very important to do.  When the time is right and you’ve established that you can provide value, simply say, “I’d like to see more of your X patients.  Can you send me a few more so I can ”

#6 Recognize Your Referrers

People loved to be recognized for good deeds, and referring to your practice should count as one of them. When you thank and recognize your referrers, you further solidify your relationship with them. You can send a simple card for every patient that is referred, a gift of nominal value to avoid breaking legal anti-kickback regulations, and make sure that you provide timely, short and scannable progress and discharge reports..

#7 Track Your Progress

Once you’ve got a few weeks under your belt, it’s time to analyze the results and adjust accordingly. Take a look at the numbers: how many referrals have come in? What process worked best? In what ways can you make changes to your strategy to realize more ROI?

The Bottom Line

Patients coming to your clinic via direct access is a good thing; but, remember: adding more new evaluations to your schedule allows you to provide not only patients but doctors conservative, natural treatment options.

As you implement your referral marketing strategy, you might have to make several changes before you nail down a plan that really works. Be open to that, and remember to keep not only the patients’ experience but also the your referring physicians’ experiences at the forefront of your efforts.

Need More Training?

E-rehab.com offers a program call More MD Referrals – Physician Sales & Marketing Training.  If you have questions about this or any of our other services. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 760-585-9097 or email David Straight, DPT at dave@e-rehab.com .

10 Ways to Promote Your Small Physical Therapy Practice on a Budget

Whether you’re just starting your PT private practice or you’ve been running your clinic for a few years, during these times you have to be efficient with spending money on physical therapy marketing. For the savvy PTPP director who wants to save some money, here are some tips for marketing on a budget.

#1 Find Some Local Online Facebook Groups

You may be open and still treating patients, or you may be just doing telehealth; either way, you can leverage your community to market your business. Get your name out there by sponsoring local Facebook groups where moms gather, sports teams gather (e.g. a running club), or your neighbors gather. Get creative about offering value.  How can you help members of the group? Offer to speak on a Zoom webinar where share your expertise. This will boost awareness about your practice help you make one-on-one connections.

#2 Be Ready with a One-Liner, Talking Logo, or Elevator Pitch

If someone asks you what you do, does your answer put them asleep, confuse them, or arouse curiosity?  

A good one-liner as Donald Miller states, is one sentence that can grow your business (more here).

Another way to describe your business to another is with what John Jantsch calls, a talking logo.   John describes a talking logo as follows: “a tool that allows you to communicate verbally the single greatest benefit of doing business with your firm. A talking logo is a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and ideally forces the listener to want to know more.” (more here

Yet another way to think about it is by simply following this formula: “I help x get y using z.”  An example might be: “I treat people in pain naturally recover with nothing more than my hands and mouth.”  If you were speaking with someone the first time, can you see how this type of answer invites additional questions? Fast, concise, and arousing curiosity are the keys to developing a good one-liner or talking. 

#3 Network with Other Local Businesses

Find other businesses that you believe in and make connections with them. Offer them your willingness to promote them if they’ll do the same for you. You could even come together for a community event and refer potential customers to each other.

Massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, acupuncturists, running, swimming, and sports equipment stores and of course medical doctors are some examples of companies you can cross-promote.  Make a list and start reaching out.

No matter how it looks, it’s a win for you and a win for the other businesses in your community.

#4 Take Advantage of Free Social Media

We all know that there are countless social media platforms out there, and it can seem a little overwhelming. But the good news is that it is either free or very inexpensive to market your business through this medium. 

If you are looking to treat middle-aged and senior patients then Facebook is the platform you should use.  If you are looking for the younger 20-35 y.o. crowd, then Instagram is a good place to start.

But here’s a quick tip: your goal is to nurture relationships by showing interest in them, providing good content and by asking others how you can help them.  One surefire way to kill your reputation is to look self-serving.  Following someone else on IG hoping to get a follow back won’t likely foster your relationships. Social media is meant for socializing.  Imagine if you were at a party and you approached a group of others, you would disrupt the gathering of people by trying to get everyone to focus their attention on you right away.

#5 Create and Publish Great Content

Sharing helpful content is important.  As the saying goes, content is king.  Not only does it establish you as an authority and increases practice awareness, but it also helps people. Of course, you don’t have to spend any money to create great content (if you someone at your practice is willing to do create the content on their own). If you’ve got older content, an easy way to get the message is out is by simply refreshing that old content. Add some graphics, update the content, add a new take on an age-old issue… whatever the case may be, don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

#6 Call Up Your Referring Physicians

Believe it or not, many physicians are in the same boat as you are during this COVID crisis.  Give your referring physicians a call.  Ask them questions about how they are doing, their staff, their family.  See how may patients they are seeing now.  Offer to help them out.  Ask how telehealth is working for them.  Offer to help them promote their practice or find a collaborative opportunity.  Offer to do a video conference call, record it and share it to your email list or Facebook fans.

#7 Email an Offer to Your List.  You Could Offer a Free Telehealth Session

Many are just now experiencing how health care is delivered via remote video conferencing with systems like doxy, Zoom, Vsee, BetterPT, etc.  When it comes to a hands-on provider like a physical therapist, the notion of communicating online assessments and treatment seems like a contradiction (when coming from a PT). 

One way to start the conversation and to get people to consider your physical therapy services is to email them an offer.  Here’s how you can do this: 

a. Get a list of first names and email addresses. Go to your EMR system and download a list of email addresses and names. I am assuming that you have permission to email your patients.
b. Send out an email blast.  You want to put together a personalized message, first name only,  and use a subject line like this:
Remember, the goal of the subject line is to get them to open the email message.
c. Get them to “click” to the next step. In the body of the message, you need to make a compelling offer.  Let your past patients know how you’re STILL able to serve them during this crisis – but it’s in a slightly different way.  Remember, the goal of the email message, in most cases is to get them to click on a link to do something next.
d. Give them something of value. Offer a free 15-minute “virtual” mini-evaluation to get them on the phone to see where they need the most help and let them know about your virtual services, or if you’re still open, to see if they are good candidate to come in for some therapy.
For some, this might be the solution they are looking for.  If it is a valuable, compelling offer, your past patients will take you up on it.  If not, think of another offer. Most marketing campaigns fail on the first try; so, don’t be afraid to try again.

#8 Ask Your Patients for Referrals

Whether it be during a video conference or in person, ask your patients for referrals.  This is how you can accomplish this.

a. First find out if your patient is willing.  Take their “temperature” by finding out how satisfied they are with your services.  If you get a lot of positive feedback and you sense they are very pleased, then you can move to the next step.

b. Ask an open-ended question.  Don’t make the mistake of asking, “Do you know someone else I can help?” That’s a closed-ended question that will result in a yes or no.

c. Take it slower with multiple, open-ended questions like:

  • “Who do you know that has a problem like you?”
  • “What have they done to deal with their pain?”
  • “What are you thoughts about how they might respond to this kind of treatment?”
  • “How could I work with you to see if they might benefit from what I’m doing with you?”

Knowing when and how to ask your patients for referrals will increase the likelihood of success.  Give it a try and understand you’ll either get a No (in which case you’ll improve your ability to ask for a referral from your next patient), or you will get a Yes and you might be able to help them.

NOTE: if you do get a name from your patient, make sure you complete the process by having your patient make a warm introduction.  Be willing to do a simple conference call with the patient and their family member or friend to take it to the next step.

#9 Increase the Value of Your Business Card and Add a QR Code

Business cards are cheap these days. Take a look at yours. Does it need a redesign?  Can you add services on the back?  How about a QR code that when scanned take the viewer to a video about you on YouTube or a web page where they can learn more about what you do, or perhaps to a page where you make them an offer? 

QR codes were popular back in the 2008-2012 timeframe; but, the need for users to install a QR reader app on their phone made them a challenge to use.  Back in September, 2017 when Apple released iOS 11, iPhone cameras became readers.  Simply point the camera app at a QR code and it reads it.

Get creative with QR codes.  Head over to QRstuff.com and create your own.

#10 Seek Out Recognition for Your Great Work

Believe it or not, it costs nothing to apply for business awards for your niche. Iff you are selected, you can tout that award on your website or on your front desk. This is a nice way to add credibility to your physical therapy services and it gives you another thing to write about in your social media posts.  

#10.5 Bonus Tip

As of the date of this post, I’ve been in the PT private practice marketing space for almost 20 years. If there’s one thing I can share with you that is going to dramatically increase your odds of success it’s these 3 things: One, take action.  Most just read about marketing and never take any action. Two, make sure you invest in your marketing.  Marketing pays dividends and gives you returns.  Sometimes your investments result in a loss but then you learn.  Sometimes they provide you with a good profit.  This leads me to my third point, persistence.  Marketing is an ongoing process over time.  It never stops.  The more you do it, the more you learn and improve that process.

Working within Your Budget

You might think it is difficult to market your practice on a small budget.  There is some truth to this.  After all, you might be up against large hospitals, corporate big-box clinic chains, and POPTS clinics.  The resistance is proportional to the reward though.  If you want to generate patients that might net you up to $1000 when you complete a plan of care with them, it’s going to take some work.  

Looking for the Best Online Marketing Services on a Budget?

E-rehab.com provides different packages of marketing services, training and tools to help you generate more new, repeat, and word-of-mouth business.

For more information about how we can help, click here to schedule some on my calendar and we can discuss your needs.

A Guide to Writing Your Physical Therapy Website Home Page

Learn to create an appealing physical therapy website  that will turn to visitors into patients by building a story

Just having a website is one thing. It’s extremely easy to create a website these days (that’s not much more than a basic online brochure), and most physical therapy practices have at least taken this initial step; but, creating a website that:

  • Communicates a promise,
  • Conveys a “picture” of how the clinicians can help,
  • Provides proof, and
  • Ultimately results in visitors becoming patients?

This is something else altogether, and a marketing strategy that many private practices really fall short of achieving.

It’s Not About You…A Physical Therapy Website Home Page is About the Patient

The primary issue most private physical therapy practices face when creating website content is simple: they spend too much time explaining who they are and what they offer, and not enough describing how it will actually help those reading it. As a result, a prospective patient may not become engaged, may not find what they’re looking for, and is likely to leave your website before they even understand what you can do for them.

Start with a Brandscript

physical therapy brandscript

There are many ways to address this common failing of websites, but one avenue way to think about how to communicate your brand message is to first create a BrandScript, which is a concept created by Donald Miller in his book Building a StoryBrand™ *.

We recommend reading this insightful book to anyone looking to build a new website or redesign a current one, but if you don’t have the time to do so, we’d like to offer a breakdown of its core principles and explain how you can utilize them for your practice.

The StoryBrand Framework: You’re the Guide, the Patient is the Hero

In order to understand how to create a BrandScript and develop a StoryBrand, we’ll first need to walk you through some of the key elements of the book. As we mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes that private practices make when building a website or creating any other content is making the focus about you instead of about them. This could be the case if a website is loaded with pages like “About Us,” “Mission Statement,” and “Values,” but doesn’t tell a prospective patient front and center how you will make their lives better.

While many physical therapists may consider themselves heroes (and in a way they are, after all, they provide great care, relieve pain, and restore function), Miller would describe the patient as the hero instead of the physical therapist. The guide (the PT) is meant to elevate the hero (the patient) and help them succeed in any good story.

In essence, to truly appeal to website visitors (potential new patients) and make them care about what you have to say, all of your marketing content should follow the same formula as a captivating story.

The Players and Elements of a Good Story

Miller breaks down the key ingredients of every good story as follows:

  • A character
  • Has a problem
  • And meets a guide
  • Who gives them a plan
  • And calls them to action
  • That ends in a success
  • That helps them avoid failure

If you think about the majority of your favorite novels, films, TV shows, and any other stories you’ve come across, chances are that they generally follow this formula. It’s also likely that the reason these stories are intriguing is because of the above ingredients, since it’s a winning outline that usually keeps audiences interested when executed properly.

Building a StoryBrand™ advises that all practice owners like yourself also need to craft an engaging story about their business that clearly shows why the patient is the hero and why you, the physical therapist, is the guide that helps them reach their goals.

The StoryBrand (SB7) Framework

Each of these components is part of the StoryBrand 7 (or SB7) Framework and is described in more detail in the sections below.

  1. A character: the patient is the hero, not you or your practice

Before moving forward, the first set of questions you need to ask yourself when going through the process of creating your story are these:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How will it make people’s lives better?
  3. What does someone need to do next to use your services?

For your practice, the answers may seem obvious at first, but spend some time thinking these questions through before providing answers, because how you respond will play a major role in each of the other steps of this framework.

The first part of the SB7 Framework is identifying the character in the story and positioning them as the hero. As we mentioned above, the character (i.e. the patient) is clearly someone who’s being held back in their life by an injury or painful condition. And what does each of these individuals want? This of course varies from person to person, but in most cases it’s likely along the lines of:

  • Getting rid of the pain,
  • Living a life with less pain,
  • Improving mobility, and
  • Recovering strength.

We encourage you to take plenty of time when trying to figure out what your character wants, because it should be at the heart of what you do as a private physical therapy practice.

Once you have identified the character in your story and landed on a clear understanding of exactly what that character wants, you can visit mystorybrand.com to start working on your StoryBrand BrandScript and continue to fill it out as you refine your story.


  1. Has a problem: show that you solve internal instead of external problems

This step delves a bit deeper into what problem the character (your average patient) has and how that will guide your message. To more closely hone in on your patients’ problem, it’s also important to identify a “villain” in the story. The villain in the your patients’ stories, in most cases, isn’t a person.

Villains should be relatable, singular, and real, and should be the reason people will seek out your services in the first place. For a typical patient in need of physical therapy, the villain might be:

  • A torn rotator cuff
  • Sciatica
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Vertigo
  • Balance problems
  • Post-surgical deconditioning
  • Immobility,” or
  • Some combination of these elements.

It’s also important to know the difference between internal, external, and philosophical problems:

  • External problems: the obvious obstacle in the way of success (eg, back pain, knee pain, balance issues)
  • Internal problems: how does the external problem affect the character’s internal feelings and emotions? Using the above example, external problems:
    • Back pain is preventing me lifting boxes,
    • Knee pain is preventing me from running, and
    • Balance problems prevent me from walking on uneven surfaces.
  • Philosophical problems: why it all matters. Each of the external and internal problems really add up to why it a medical problem really matters so much to the patient.  Following through with the above examples (the bold text describes the philosophical problems):
    • My back pain keeps me from lifting boxes which prevents me from working and providing for my family.
    • My knee pain prevents me from running which keeps me from running the marathon I’ve been training for over the past 3 months.
    • My balance problems keep me from walking on uneven surfaces which means I can’t go to Disneyland with my grandkids.

By considering your patients’ perspective and identifying the “villain” in each of their stories, we can better understand their external, internal, and philosophical problems.

Then you’ll be able to more clearly see why it’s so crucial to show that they can overcome these obstacles, and that you are the guide that will help them do it.


  1. And meets a guide: to be clear, you are the hero’s guide

The next step of the framework is all about positioning you and your practice as the guide responsible for leading each patient towards success and positive outcomes. The two things you need to communicate to make it apparent that you are this guide are empathy and authority.

Empathy is showing your patients that you understand where they’re coming from, and that you truly care about improving their health and wellbeing. It means expressing common frustrations that they are likely dealing with and telling them that they are not the only ones experiencing these issues.

Demonstrating authority means presenting your clinic as a place that they can trust to provide the best possible treatments to help them improve. This is where you have the opportunity to promote all of your accolades and the nice things others have to say about you, but in a manner that’s humble and not pompous.

Some of the ways this can be accomplished are through:

  • Ratings and reviews,
  • Videos expressing positive outcomes,
  • Awards that your practice has won over the years, and/or
  • Statistics on how many patients continue to come back to you for therapy.

Balancing empathy and authority will help your patients feel confident in their decision to choose you to address their problem.


  1. Who gives them a plan: to be a good guide, you need to have a good plan

If you want your patients to trust you as the guide that will help them succeed, you must show them that you also have a clear plan that will get them there. A good plan should walk visitors on your website through what you offer and how this process will work if they decide to come to you for treatment. When done effectively, it should also eliminate any fears or concerns that might be holding them back from initiating therapy.

According to Building a StoryBrand™, there are two plans you can use to effectively encourage visitors to choose you:

  • The process plan
    • This type of plan is recommended and it describes the steps a prospective patient will take if they decide to visit you for treatment; for your practice, it might look something like this: 1) Schedule an appointment, 2) Prepare for your first visit, 3) Undergo a detailed evaluation, 4) Get started on your personalized treatment program
  • The agreement plan
    • This type of plan is essentially a list of agreements you make with your patients to help them overcome fears of going through with treatment; these plans generally work in the background and are there to give you visitors a deeper understanding of your practice; to create an agreement plan, think about all potential fears an individual might have about physical therapy and then counter that list with agreements that will alleviate these fears

  1. And calls them to action: make the next steps clear and easy

If you’ve effectively shown a visitor that they are the hero and you are the guide with a plan to solve their problems, it’s imperative that you make it obvious what they should do next. This is accomplished with a “call to action” that gets them to the next phase. There are generally two kinds of calls to action:

  • Direct: these include requests like “schedule an appointment” or “call our clinic today” that will directly lead the visitor to take the action needed to initiate their path of care
  • Transitional: this type of call to action involves less risk and usually offers something for free; they are there for website visitors that aren’t quite ready to set up an appointment, but are still interested in your practice and who are considering your services; a good transitional call to action should help position you as the most trusted physical therapy practice in your area, and some examples include:
    • A video or PDF of testimonials from patients with similar problems as the viewer
    • A downloadable list of reasons why a patient should choose you over competitors
    • An infographic that lists all the benefits of physical therapy at your practice

By using calls to action, you will give your visitors what they need to move forward with you or enough information to transition them from uncertainty to certainty.


  1. That helps them avoid failure: what do your visitors stand to lose without treatment?

This step of the framework builds off of #2 (identifying the problem) and is designed to remind your visitors what could happen if they do not choose to undergo physical therapy with you. The goal here should not be fear mongering, which can do more harm than good. Instead, find a way to effectively show your prospective patients what could potentially happen and what they stand to lose if they fail to have treatment for their condition with a subtle approach. Some examples might include the following:

  • Progressive functional loss
  • The need for opioid drugs, injections, or surgery
  • Increase financial costs for more expensive procedures

Once you have identified these, try to lightly sprinkle them into your story and message to make it clear why it’s a wise decision to move forward with therapy.


  1. And ends in success: tell your audience how you will change their lives for the better

The final step is to create a vision for your prospective patients of what things will look like on the other side, after they have completed their treatment program with you. A good exercise to guide you through this final part is to make a grid of “before” and “after” completing treatment that looks like this:

Before completing treatment After completing treatment
What do they have?
What are they feeling?
What’s an average day like
What is their status?

It will also help to once again think about the structure of a good story and what the hero gets in the end. In most cases, a good story ends by allowing the hero to:

  1. Win some sort of power or position
  2. Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole
  3. Experience some kind of self-realization that also makes them whole

With this in mind, try to vividly describe to your audience how a successful course of treatment with you will enhance their lives and accomplish one or more of these goals. There are many possibilities here, but some ideas would be “getting your life back on track,” “moving better to feel better,” or “overcoming your pain to become whole again.” Making this clear to prospective patients will allow them to visualize the success that you can bring about and lead them to realize that your clinic is the best way to help them get there.

Bringing it all together: how to apply this framework to your physical therapy website development

Now that you have a general understanding of the StoryBrand BrandScript—and hopefully some ideas to get you started—the next step is to zero in your own practice’s story, and then put it into action. This applies to many aspects of your online presence and marketing plan, but most directly to your website.

As a quick reminder of what we learned above, we have the following StoryBrand elements:

  1. A character (the patient)
  2. Has a problem (pain, functional limitations, life limitations)
  3. And meets a guide (the PT)
  4. Who gives them a plan (follow these steps to come see me for treatment)
  5. And calls them to action (contact me to set up and initial eval)
  6. That helps them avoid failure (use of drugs, imaging, injections, surgery)
  7. That ends in a success (patient goals achieved and discharge)

If you don’t have a website or you don’t feel your current website effectively tells a story in which your patients are the heroes and you are the guide that will help them achieve success, it’s probably time to make some changes.

For many prospective patients, your website is likely the first detailed impression they will have of your practice, which means it should be designed to convey that you can be trusted to deliver whatever they are seeking. These prospective patients should leave your website with all of their hopes confirmed and be convinced that you can offer the solution to their problem.

Building a StoryBrand™ lists five basic things that your website should include to help get you started thinking about what changes you need to make:

  1. An offer above the fold

This is a short line or sentence combined with appropriate images that clearly explain what your practice does and how it will help your patients’ lives. In most cases it should include a tagline or headline that is aspirational and specific, and a sub-headline that goes into a bit more detail of exactly what you offer.  Here we are offering ourselves as the guide,  addressing what success looks like for the patient, and helping them avoid failure. In most cases, this is text that is over-the-top of the hero image discussed below.

  1. Obvious call to action (in the upper right and overlaying the hero photo)

Calls to action are the fifth part of the SB7 Framework. Your number one call to action should be to have the viewer call your office.  A secondary call to action is to have the viewer click on an Appointment Request button.  You’ll need to make sure that both of these are easy to locate. The two main places direct calls to action should be placed are at the top right of the website—which should appear on every page of your site—and in the center of the screen. They should also be of a different color, font, or size than the rest of the copy on your website to increase their visibility and make them more distinct.

  1. Outcomes Oriented Imagery (the Hero image)

Writing good copy is the first step to creating an appealing website, but this also needs to be accompanied by images that clearly illustrate your message. For a physical therapy website, the best approach is usually to display smiling images of happy people engaging in recreation, sports, and other physical activities. We call these types of images, “outcomes-oriented imagery.” Using these types of photos will essentially show your prospective patients what’s possible if they complete treatment with you.  This addresses point number 6 in the SB7 Framework.

  1. A list of services (your Value Stack)

This tip demonstrates authority and shows your website viewers that you can specifically solve their external, internal, and philosophical problems.

  1. A clear outline of what they can expect and success stories/ratings & reviews

The simple steps the website viewer needs to take to start the recovery process as well as ratings and reviews demonstrating social proof of positive outcomes with patients.

  1. A limited number of words 

While it may be tempting to be as thorough as possible when communicating your message, you can lose readers’ interest if you’re overly verbose. Most people only scan websites, so focus on trimming the fat and condensing your key talking points down to the minimal amount needed to convey the core of your practice. This is easier said than done, but will go a long way when executed correctly.

Most decisions you make for your website should also be closely based on your StoryBrand BrandScript by reinforcing the key elements of the story you’ve crafted. Words, images, and ideas shared on your website should be informed by your script. This means that everything should show your patients that you are the guide they need to be the hero in their story and achieve a successful outcome that will improve their lives.

We can help you build your Physical Therapy Website Including Your StoryBrand BrandScript

If you’d like to redesign your website or overhaul your practice’s marketing plan, E-Rehab can help. Our team is well-versed in the fundamental concepts of Building a StoryBrand™, and we can guide you through the process of creating a BrandScript and executing it in your website content.

Need Some Help?

Contact me, David Straight, at 800-468-5161 or Click Here to schedule some time on my calendar.  I look forward to learning more about you and sharing with you how we might be able to help.

*This website is NOT affiliated with, funded, or in any way associated with the StoryBrand™

 

 

Cares ACT and PPP

Disclaimer: this is information that is simply being passed on from other resources.  E-rehab, LLC does not guarantee its accuracy and encourages you to verify the information with additional government and professional resources.  It is for educational purposes only and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.

Tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the Small Business Administration in conjunction with the bank you use for your business, will be launching the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) to provide “covered loans” for a “covered period” to “eligible recipients” which includes “eligible self-employed individuals”.

To qualify, small businesses must employee fewer than 500 employees and this requirement is inclusive of sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals provided your business can certify in good faith that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible recipient and you acknowledge that funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments and utility payments per the terms of the law. The maximum “covered loan” amount (not to exceed $10,000,000) is in general 2.5 times the average total monthly payments for payroll costs (for the 12 month period prior to the loan origination) which is defined to include the compensation you pay on behalf of your employees (e.g. W-2 and benefits such as health insurance and pension) and the sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor (e.g. net self-employment income). However, the annual per employee or per self-employed person payroll costs are limited to a maximum of $100,000.

Allowable uses of the covered loans include at least: payroll costs; group health care costs; employee salaries, commissions or similar compensations; payments of interest on any mortgage obligation; rent; and, utilities. The loan is nonrecourse meaning no personal guarantees by you. Per the SBA and US Treasury websites, the initial loan has a maturity of 2 years at a fixed interest rate of ½ of 1% (i.e. .5%) with complete payment deferment relief for impacted borrowers for a period of not less than 6 months. Maturity for loans with remaining balance after application of forgiveness (discussed below) shall have a maximum maturity of 10 years while the interest rate cannot exceed 4 percent.

Loan Forgiveness Provision

The following section 1106 Loan Forgiveness provision states the following: The following are the essential parts of the non-taxable loan forgiveness: An eligible recipient shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a covered loan in an amount equal to the sum of the following costs incurred and payments made during the “covered period”: payroll costs, “covered rent obligation”, “covered utility payment”, and any payment of interest on a “covered mortgage obligation”. Each of these terms are specifically defined in the law but the covered period is the 8 week period following origination of your PPP loan.

The loan forgiveness amount will be reduced based on a reduction in number of employees using a formula and factoring in a reduction relating to salary and wages if they drop more than 25% during the look back period in the law. There are exemptions for rehires if you have already let some employees go.

Finally, if you want to proceed with applying for a PPP loan then it is recommended that you contact the bank you do business with because the SBA is providing them guidelines to initiate and fund these loans very quickly starting with an application by you.

Applying for Forgiveness

Then, 8 weeks after loan origination you can apply for loan forgiveness provided you produce the following four things:

  1. Proof of payroll tax filings, full-time equivalent employees and their pay rates;
  2. Proof to verify payments on covered mortgage obligation, covered lease obligations, and covered utility payments;
  3. Certification that the documentation is true and correct and the amount for any forgiveness was used to retain employees and make payments on those listed covered expense items;
  4. Any other documentation that he Administrator determines necessary.

Examples Simply to illustrate the application of a forgiven PPP loan.  You should input your own financial data.

  • High Salary Business: Let’s say the practice owners is paid an annual salary of a million dollars but all the rank and file are paid annual compensation packages that average $48,000/yr. Assume 10 rank and file full time employees and no layoffs. Then $48,000 x 10 employees equals $480,000 in annual wages. Divide that by 12 months to get average monthly payroll for them of $40,000 times 2.5 is $100,000. Then for the CEO you can only count $100,000 of his annual salary which you divide by 12 to get monthly average of $8,333 times 2.5 equals $20,833. Aggregate the two results of $100,000 plus $20,833 and the maximum PPP loan is $120,833. If in the next 8 weeks after the loan is funded that business complies with the rules discussed above and spends all $120,833 on those payroll costs plus the other covered costs for rent, utilities and mortgage interest payments, then the full loan of $120,833 is forgiven. (Complications are likely to exist to calculate fringe benefits related to “payroll costs” as well as full time equivalent employee headcount and pay rates.)
  • Self-Employed Business making $48,000 net income : In this example the sole-proprietor divides $48,000 by 12 times 2.5 and their PPP loan is $10,000 which can be forgiven if their covered costs and net income in the following 8 weeks adds up to $10,000. (Complications exist to calculate applicable health insurance benefits related to the self-employed situation.)

Suggested Action Plan: Since the CARES ACT passed 3-27-20, during the evolving roll out by the SBA and banks on this PPP loan program, we encourage you to at least inquire with your bank and go onto the following websites to read current news from SBA and the US Treasury.  Also shown below you can find updated info at IRS.gov.

From the US Treasury website on the new guidance that has just been released on these loans:

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm961

Now on the SBA website, see what they are rolling out in terms of the paycheck protection loans.

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp

You can also get Coronavirus Tax Relief update info on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Finally, the actual law with the statutory language of the CARES ACT is found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text

Google My Business Updates & Your Practice Listing

If you’ve closed your practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be thinking about marking your Google My Business listing to closed.

We don’t recommend you do this at this time.  This video will give you more details

Transcription of the video

Hi, this is David with the E-rehab.  I hope you are well in this time of crisis. I wanted to do a quick video about Google My Business listings because we’re going to get questions about this and we’ve already had a few.

You’ll see here an example of Coast Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine and Chico. You can see it on a phone here and you can also see it on desktop as well. You’ll notice the COVID-19 alert, which is necessary, but I’m not a fan of it being associated with your business listing. There isn’t much we can do there to change it.

What we have noticed though is if you go into your Google my business account, there is a link at the top. I’ll learn more with limited Google my business functionality due to the coronavirus and COVID-19. Click here for details.

There are three things we’ve noticed and then one big one that we’re getting questions about.

  1. The first is you cannot get new reviews.
  2. The second thing is you cannot respond to reviews.
  3. The third thing is, is that they have removed questions and answers in your Google My Business account.

The Most Important Question – Do I Mark My Business Closed?

The big one though is when people ask us if they should Mark their clinics closed because they have closed their practice in response to the crisis. Our answer is no.

Google reinforces this. If you click on this, learn more here. You can get to this page and you notice that they want you to do business edits. It’s gonna take them some time to verify new listings and they have removed the Q and A; but if you click here on this link, it goes to more specifics. What do you do if you have changed your hours?

They want you to update your hours. They want you to add in to your information under the info tab, that you have changes in your hours and they’re saying to create a post and then if you’re temporarily closed. They’re saying that they get information from elsewhere.

Basically they don’t have functionality yet that says they are temporarily closed in your Google my business listing. So that leads me to the next point – your INFO link in your GMB account.

If you wanted to click on that and you could go down here and you could change your information right here, but they also talked about creating a post.

So here’s what posts look like and what you do is you click add an update. And if I do that, I have that, uh, here. You would drag an image in there and then write your post where you could say that your, you things have been modified or you’re closed or when we get through this that, you would post that you’re open again and then you just simply click publish there.

In Summary

The question being, should I mark my business closed in Google my business? Do NOT do that. If you do, it could impact your search listings.

So, modify the information as stated above in the Info section of your GMB listing and/or create a post and put it up there under your Google my business account.

I hope this helps. If you have questions, let us know.

Images for You to Use on Your Google My Business Posts

Here are three images you can use to upload to your Google My Business account depending upon the status of your clinic.  Simply right-click on the given image and save it to your computer.  You can then upload it to your Google My Business post.

 

Telehealth Updates for PT Private Practices

Telehealth Information from Various Resources (Make Sure to Add Additional Resources in the Comments)

Have your patients support telehealth policy change.  Ask them to contact their Senator or Congressperson through this link from the APTA:
https://www.votervoice.net/APTA/campaigns/73113/respond

Start Here

1. PPS Impact Magazine – Tips & Tricks to Start Telehealth Tomorrow.  A nice summary of how to use telehealth by Mark Milligan, PT, DPT.  Starts on page 24.
Click here for the issue.

2. Payment and regulatory resources from the APTA
Click here

3. I recommend you read this document which was posted by the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Click here.  It provides current information on evisits and telehealth as of March 19th, 2020

4. Then, I suggest you join the TelehealthPTs Facebook Group. Lots of good info – look in the Files section of the Group.
Click here for the Facebook Group and request to join it.

Let us know if you need a telehealth page on your website.

5-26-20

Software Services Clients are Using to Assist with Telehealth/E-visits

Zoom.us – live video software
EnGuard Telehealth – New HIPAA Compliant, Webmail-based Video Conferencing and File Exchange Service (call for more info)
Vsee.com – this company has been around for a long time/HIPAA Video and waiting room
Doxy.me – simple, free, secure telemedicine solution
Phzio.com – live video call service
Fiizio.com – an app that you can give to patients. Enables cash transactions.
Digitalintakes.com – to set up secure, HIPAA compliant intake forms
Vsee.com – secure video
Valdhealth.com – online programs
BetterPT.com – they have a telehealth option

Additional Web Resources

WebPT blog post about billing and using G codes

APTA FAQ about Evisits

For Billing Questions about Telehealth and E-visits, I recommend Rick Gawenda at GawendaSeminars.com

3-20-20

Are Physical Therapy Essential? Memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security via the PT Private Practice Section

We are writing to share a memorandum from the US Department of Homeland Security issued on the list of essential infrastructure workers (see page 5 of the memorandum). It may be argued that it is our duty to continue to care for our patients’ physical therapy needs during this time of crisis.

The guidance from the memorandum states that:

If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.

If your clinic is able to practice within the recommended CDC guidelines and follow your local government mandates, consider that community-based physical therapists assist in keeping people healthy. According to Dr. Matos, an expert in biologic surety and the management of select agent programs at federal facilities:

“Physical therapists are essential in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. They play a key role in keeping people they can help out of the doctor offices and ER’s. This will not only free up the medical teams to treat those impacted by COVID-19, but also limit the exposure of those seeking the care of the physical therapist.”

Additional Links, Experts, and Resources
What are your state policies regarding evisits/telemedicine?
Here’s a good website with more details.  Click here.

TelehealthPT.com
Telehealth resource from Rob Vining, PT, a leader in telehealth – telehealthpt.com
Facebook Group is here.

Example Language for Those Offering Telehealth:
Here’s an example telehealth webpage we’ve put together and is available for our clients: https://pillsburypt.com/telehealth

PPS APTA Resources
The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association has a page dedicated to telehealth.  Lots of good resources and more to come I’m sure.
Click here to visit that page.

Major Update for California PTs – Department of Managed Health Care:
“..health plans must take steps to allow people to obtain health care via telehealth when medically appropriate to do so.”
Click here to read the release.

From CMS RE: Telehealth

Clinicians who may not independently bill for evaluation and management visits (for example – physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, clinical psychologists) can also provide these e-visits and bill the following codes:

o G2061: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment and management, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5–10 minutes

o G2062: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment and management service, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 11–20 minutes

o G2063: Qualified non-physician qualified healthcare professional assessment and management service, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 21 or more minutes.

3-19-20

From the American Physical Therapy Association
Here’s a link to some good resources.
Click here for additional information.
PT News from APTA about COVID-19 and Telehealth

Update: APTA to host a live webinar on “Medicare “E-visits” March 19 at 8:00 pm, ET and a Facebook Live event on Friday, March 20 at 2:00 pm, ET.

From a the California Physical Therapy Association:

Telehealth: Billing and Coding Considerations

Medicare

Billing physical therapy services that have been provided through telehealth is an emerging challenge. Due to the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their providers without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

For the first time, PTs will be allowed to bill Medicare for telehealth visits under codes associated with online assessment and management services, HCPCS codes:

  • G2061: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5–10 minutes;
  • G2062: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 11-20 minutes;
  • G2063: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 21 or more minutes).

Providers must use place-of-service code “02” and “GT” modifier. The payment rates are significantly lower than the traditional payment for an in-person visit under the CPT 97000 code series.

To determine the reimbursement rates for G2061-G2063, visit the CMS Physician Fee Schedule lookup tool. Medicare coinsurance and deductible apply to the services.

To qualify as an e-visit, three basic qualifications must be met:

  1. The billing practice must have an established relationship with the patient, meaning the provider must have an existing provider-patient relationship;
  2. The patient must initiate the inquiry for an e-visit and verbally consent to check-in services;
  3. The communications must be limited to a seven-day period through an “online patient portal.” (see the definition below)
  4. Although the patient must initiate the service, CMS allows “practitioners to educate beneficiaries on the availability of the telehealth service prior to patient initiation.” For example, if a patient cancels treatment because they can’t come to the clinic or are concerned about leaving home, then the PT may advise the patient that she or her can “virtually” contact the therapists as needed.

Medicaid

As of this writing, Medicaid does not pay for telehealth in California. Governor Newsom has requested a Federal Government Waiverto expand telehealth options under Medicaid. Stay tuned…

Third-Party Payers

Payment for telehealth depends on your contract with your payer. There is no list of third-party payers that pay for telerehab. Also confirm with each payer whether the originating site can be a private home or office, if services must be real-time or can be asynchronous, and any other limitations to your use of telehealth.

For third-party billing, there are “telehealth” CPT codes. But before reporting CPT codes you traditionally use for clinical visits or billing for telephone services (98966-98969), check with your payer. Many of the physical medicine and rehabilitation codes (97000 series) specify “direct 1-on-1 patient contact,” which by strict definition would exclude telehealth unless you and your payer have agreed to include these services. A payer also may require an addendum attached to the bill that identifies the service as being provided via telehealth, along with an explanation of the charges, so be prepared to outline the reasoning for using telehealth.

You also should check with your payer about using place-of-service code “02” when billing for telehealth services to specify the entity where service(s) were rendered. Regardless of the payer or policy, if you provide and bill for services using telehealth, make sure that you are practicing legally and ethically, and are adhering to state and federal practice guidelines and payer contract agreements.

3-18-20

Here’s a webinar that Chad Madden did with Tom Dalonzo-Baker about how you can use his techniques to treat over video.

Click here to watch it on their blog.

Telehealth – A HIPAA Compliant Telehealth App for Physical Therapist by Fiizio.com 

Here’s a webinar I did with the owner, a couple weeks ago.

If you are interested in providing telehealth services to your patients, here’s a new company and app that will allow you to accomplish this.
You can reach the owner, Eran Tagor by email at eran@fiizio.com .

The website is https://www.fiizio.com

For an example web page that we put together that explains the process, you can go to https://bandgpt.com/telehealth

March 17, 2020

Some good FAQ about Telehealth from BreakthroughPTmarketing.com

1. Is Telehealth billable right now, or is it out-of-pocket for the patient?
Yes you can bill under asynchronous telehealth. However, medicare/caid will not reimburse, only private insurance. Some states have parity laws in place to ensure it. Please check this link for each state’s specifics: https://evisit.com/state-telemedicine-policy/ Out of pocket is always an option as well.

1 a. If it’s out-of-pocket for the patient, how does a Medicare patient sign an ABN if they aren’t with you? telerehab is only the vessel used to interact with the patient. The ABN would be between the patient and practitioner (or practitioner’s clinic).

2. If it is billable, do you bill a normal office visit (3-4 units, 97110/97530/97116/97112) with a modifier, or are there separate codes to use? Great question. This was asked at APTA CSM and we are still seeking verification for the proper information to provide. What I am confident in saying is this: If you are only prescribing for at-home completion and the practitioner is not monitoring/communicating with the patient actively, it is not considered a timed visit. If you are performing rehab with the patient due to not being able to see them in-office, and are actively monitoring to review each set and provide feedback to patient before the next set, you should be able to bill as normal with modifier. (This will need to be verified with your billing org)

3. How effective are you finding telehealth, given how hands-on PT is? Very, but you do need the initial assessment to be in person in order to properly prescribe a rehab protocol. Very difficult to assess without the use of hands. This is one of the primary reasons patients cannot access telerehab without first being prescribed a protocol by their practitioner.

4. Do you worry about teaching people this and then them not returning because “they can do it on their own?” No, telerehab only provides a different method to work with your patients, it does not replace the practitioner. Comments that I have gotten surround patients actually become more engaged in the rehab process. This benefits the therapist by not having to spend time convincing the patient to complete self-care. The compliance metrics within telerehab provide the patient (and clinician) with valuable insight into how they are impacting their own well-being and as a result, they complete things so they can get better.

Telehealth Definitions from the Private Practice Section of the APTA and AmericanTeleMed.org

The Private Practice Section provided some good guidance in their March 19th memo.  I recommend you read this first by clicking here.

Evisit:
CMS describes e-visits as “non face-to-face patient-initiated digital communications that require a clinical decision that otherwise typically would have been provided in the office.”

Online Patient Portal:
An online patient portal is defined by the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), as a secure online website that gives patients convenient, 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. A patient portal requires a secure username and password to allow patients to securely message their provider

Telehealth:
Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. Wikipedia

Telemedicine:
Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology. Learn more.

Telerehabilitation:
Telerehabilitation refers to the delivery of rehabilitation services via information and communication technologies. Clinically, this term encompasses a range of rehabilitation and habilitation services that include assessment, monitoring, prevention, intervention, supervision, education, consultation, and counseling. Learn more.

Synchronous:
Interactive video connections that transmit information in both directions during the same time period. Learn more.

Asynchronous:
Term describing store and forward transmission of medical images and/or data because the data transfer takes place over a period of time, and typically in separate time frames. The transmission typically does not take place simultaneously. This is the opposite of synchronous. Learn more.

Distant or Hub site:
Site at which the physician or other licensed practitioner delivering the service is located at the time the service is provided via telecommunications system. Learn more.

Coronavirus Email Messaging & Social Posts for E-REHAB Clients

We have been working overtime to help you share the message that you are open and still treating patients.

We Will Send Out a Message to Your Email List for You

 

Now We are Getting Ready to Send the March Newsletter for Our Clients

You should log into your Control Panel and Edit your newsletter if you have updates to communicate to your list.

Reviewing & Authorizing Your Facebook Timeline Post for Your Facebook Page.

This post is about your practice being open for business during the outbreak. 

**Note: If you are closed, let us know if you want us to post this to your website.**

We have also created a Facebook post for you. Below, you will see an example of it on the Coast Physical Therapy Facebook page.

Adding the Image Yourself

If you’d like to add this image to your website, right-click on the image below and save it.  Then upload it as an image post to your Facebook page.

Instructions on how to release this message, so it shows up on your Facebook Timeline, are also in your Control Panel and explained in the video above, as well.

​Check Our Blog for Frequent Updates

I’ve compiled a list of resources that I’ve found online. You can see these if you click here.

We plan on updating our blog with additional information as needed.

If you find additional resources, please let me know. I’ll evaluate them and if I have time, I will add them.

Telehealth Image to Add to Your Facebook Page

Below is an image that you can right-click and download the image then add it to your Facebook page.

In good health!

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