Purposeful Disruption In Your Practice For The Greater Good
Beyond the usual scope of services that enable practice expansion and
By Jenna Kantor, PT, DPT
Once upon a time, a physical therapist friend of mine, Susan, was at a dance
physical therapy meet-and-greet. There were some seasoned dance physical
therapists at this event, and Susan approached one of them, Tanya, eager to
Susan told Tanya about how she planned to start her own cash-based physical
therapy practice. She was thrilled to share her vision to incorporate injury
prevention in her business with a practitioner she admired. Tanya paused to
take in the information and responded, “How are you going to be accessible to
all dancers as a cash-based physical therapist?” Susan tried to find the
correct response. She was eager to make a lasting impression on this person
she greatly admired but was now at a loss for words.
The truth was she did not know how she was going to be accessible to all
dancers, and how could she? Running her own private practice was completely
new to her.
When Susan shared this story with me a week or so later, I was frustrated.
Tanya had no personal experience with ever trying to run an out-of-network
physical therapy practice, but very likely knew plenty of people who did.
Instead of asking this naysaying question that had left Susan frazzled, Tanya
could have provided the names and contact information of people who have had
success running a cash-based physical therapy clinic. Those would be the
people to not only investigate that question with Susan, but to also provide
Most dancers do not have the luxury of health insurance. Who do they go to
when they get hurt? How can they afford it? As a cash-based private practice,
Susan could create packages and rates that are affordable to the dancer. By
coming up with a variety of offers, Susan could improve health and prevention
of injuries amongst the many dancers who normally wouldn’t have access to such
care while also learning how to be financially successful.
BOXES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
We cannot limit ourselves by the box created before us. Those boxes are meant
to be broken and rebuilt so that new ideas can come to fruition and elevate
healthcare and their experience to a whole new level of greatness. This
concept applies to all private practices. The thing is — we are not meant to
be the same. We are not meant to rinse and repeat the same processes until the
end of time. If we did this, physical therapists would be bored and
complacent, leaving their patients feeling indifferent. Patient rehabilitation
and care would rapidly decline due to their lack of enthusiasm. Fortunately,
there is a solution. Do something new, different or new and different, and be
enthusiastic about it!
When has this been done? The initial out-of-network private practices went
against the grain in concept alone. They had to explore beyond the usual
methods implemented to have a successful private physical therapy practice. In
addition to business growth, these physical therapy clinics often remain
motivated because they are used to regularly explore new methods for keeping
the experience fresh and updated for current and future patients.
DISRUPT YOUR USUAL PRACTICE METHODS
So where do you begin with disrupting your usual practice methods to further
develop your patient care and business? Here are some ideas to shake the
kaleidoscope and provide an improvement in access to potential patients. Not
only are they meant to be used, but they are also meant to inspire more ways
to evolve beyond normal standard practices.
1. LIVE EVENT PHYSICAL THERAPIST
Being present at a live event such as a performance, sports game, or
conference can be a whole other way to provide your services. The organizing
committee may compensate you to provide physical therapy to specific people at
the event and/or offer 15–20-minute sessions for anyone who needs it. This is
not a new concept; however, many practices overlook this opportunity as a way
to gain access to individuals who may not necessarily think about seeing a
physical therapist due to a lack of knowledge, finances, or other reasons.
When present before or after a performance or game, individuals get a sample
of the services they would receive while also giving them a feel for the type
of physical therapy experience you consistently offer. As an added benefit,
they learn about the profession as a whole.
2. COMPANY PHYSICAL THERAPIST
A company like Google or Disney could hire a staff physical therapist to be
on-site or as a contracted service. Is there a corporation (profit or
nonprofit) that you would like to provide rehab services to? There are endless
companies out there that do not have in-house physical therapists, which means
there are many opportunities that you can create for yourself. Pro tip: make
sure to have the latest research available to easily highlight the benefits of
having on-site physical therapy. For example, share how it can reduce
healthcare costs and/or decrease sick days; this saves money, improves morale,
and will improve the company’s bottom line.
3. IMPLEMENT ERGONOMIC OR WORK DEMAND ASSESSMENTS TO FORMULATE INJURY
As I said before, businesses like to find ways to save money. If they are not
interested in having a permanent employee, you may also offer the option of
being a physical thearpy contractor. You can come in for brief periods of
employment where you assess workplace set-ups and provide company-wide injury
prevention suggestions or tailor a specific program for various job types to
help prevent injuries. Not only will this provide a great service, but it will
also show that the company values employee health. It’s also a great way to
regularly advertise your practice and gain raving fans. Bonus idea: level up
by offering a group rate to employees and their families.
4. TELEHEALTH PHYSICAL THERAPIST
Unfortunately, there are many schools and businesses in areas with very little
access to healthcare. In these areas, telehealth access has quickly become a
hopeful option. Without access to physical therapy services people would be
unable to properly rehabilitate and potentially lose the ability to return to
doing some of their favorite things. Living in the “middle of nowhere” has
them believing their physical limitations may never be solved. As a physical
therapist, you can be their knight in shining armor who can be available to
them virtually and conveniently. Everyone deserves a chance to change
functional limitations and improve their independence and quality of life.
5. WELLNESS PROGRAM FOR TRAVELING BUSINESSPERSONS
Let’s be clear: this is not a passive income idea. There is no such thing as
passive income. With any product, it must be regularly promoted and marketed.
Otherwise, people will gradually forget the product exists. Disney is a great
example. They are always coming up with methods to promote new or past
products. This concept is a little more out of the box compared to the others.
This is because it requires you to provide a wellness program in front of the
camera and edit it to be used by someone who is working on the road. You can
have a video for the patient to watch each week for progression of exercise.
You can also be present more often for motivation and to encourage consistency
of program. The wellness program itself will revolve around a common goal
amongst the group. Determine the goals by knowing your audience and discussing
their needs with them.
Be cautious of naysayers when sharing new ideas for your practice. Be sure to
consult with someone who has the capability of brainstorming beyond the
information they already know and/or believe. When you are enthusiastic about
exploring new methods to provide physical therapy services, not only will you
be growing your practice, but you will also help expand physical therapy
rehabilitation to many humans who would otherwise not get it.
1Donovan M, et al. “The Contribution of Onsite Physiotherapy to
an Integrated Model for Managing Work Injuries: A Follow up Study.” J Occ
Rehab. 2020;31(1):207-218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-020-09911-0.
2Kwon IH, Won-Seob S. “Effect of an On-Site Physical Therapy on
Pain, Posture, Function and Composition, and Work-Related Health Status in
Workers in Korea.” Work. 2022;72(1):253-261.
3Lein DH, et al. “A Model to Integrate Health Promotion and
Wellness in Physical Therapist Practice: Development and Validation.” Phys
Ther. 2017;97(12):1169-1181. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzx090.
4Sen B, et al. “Disparities in Telehealth Utilization in a
Population of Publicly Insured Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Pop
Heal Manage. 2022;25(2):178-185. https://doi.org/10.1089/pop.2021.0343.
Jenna Kantor, PT, DPT,
is an APTA Private Practice member, owner of her performing arts private
practice, Jenna Kantor Physical Therapy PLLC in Pittsburgh, PA, and mentor
with the Dance PT Program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
and @dancephysicaltherapists on IG and Facebook.