Driving Patients to Your Practice with The Fit Factor
By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, OCS
Over the last three to five years, there has been a dramatic shift in the use of social media, the internet, email, and various other online patient engagement tools for marketing private practice physical therapy. Consumers now communicate through social media, research practices online, read reviews and bios, and choose their own health care providers and physical therapists. Practices engage with past and potential patients to maintain and develop relationships through blogging, social media, informative and appealing websites, newsletters, and emails. Despite the opportunities developing, providing valuable and engaging content is time consuming and challenging. The Fit Factor is a valuable resource for private practice physical therapists to use to engage with consumers online. The Fit Factor aims to:
- Educate and increase your patients’ and the public’s awareness of what private practice physical therapists do, and drive more patients to our practices.
- Provide a Fit Factor score so people can compare themselves to others as well as providing guidance and recommendations on why and when to see a physical therapist.
- Provide valuable resources and education on the management and prevention of injuries and disease, further messaging our role in the health care system.
How a practice incorporates the use of the Fit Factor into their practice depends on the desired goals of their marketing and public relations plan. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add the online link: Simply add the Fit Factor image and link to your practice’s e-newsletters, social media outlets, and website. Past patients or those engaging with you and your practice may complete the survey and decide to come for physical therapy based on the recommendations. Be sure your Private Practice Section (PPS) and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) online profiles are up to date.
- Have patients complete the Fit Factor: Incorporate the Fit Factor into your patient’s course of care and discuss the findings. This will add value to the services you provide and educate the patient further on the role of private practice physical therapy, increasing the chances of this patient returning to you for future needs. Patients could complete this at home or at your clinic during their care.
- Share the resource: Educate referral sources, from health care providers to insurance companies, schools, community wellness programs, fitness centers, and your staff, about the Fit Factor, as a tool to educate on prevention and engage the public about their physical health.
- Promote a program or service: Planning to develop a balance program? Promoting your practice for sports-specific rehabilitation? Screening all female patients for pelvic pain or incontinence issues? Having current, past, or potential patients complete and share the results of the Fit Factor allows you to learn which people need your programs or specialty services.
- Maintain relationships: Email the Fit Factor to past patients to maintain and further develop relationships. Engage with past patients about their results and discover opportunities for how you and your practice can continue to help them.
Finally, assess how and why patients come to your practice, through questioning or surveys. This will allow you to measure the value of the Fit Factor for your practice and to find out if the way you are using it is successful in meeting your marketing and public relations goals.
Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, is the chair of the PPS PR and Marketing Committee and chief executive officer of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.