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How To Reduce Patient Dropout | The PT Marketing Blog

Last updated: 02-29-2020

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How To Reduce Patient Dropout | The PT Marketing Blog

9 out of 10 PT patients drop out before completing their full course of care. 

Getting patients through the door to begin with is difficult enough. After investing the time and effort to do that, dropout prior to discharge can really hurt your bottom line.

Because of this, it’s essential to focus on patient retention. It’s 5 times cheaper to retain an existing patient than acquire a new patient, and a 5% increase in patient retention can lead to a 25% increase in revenue.

One of the main indicators for patient dropout is low adherence to a Home Exercise Program (HEP). Low adherence can lead to limited/no progress, which is a recipe for an unhappy patient that’s ready to drop out of rehab! 

In order to maximize patient retention, we have to think about how to keep patients adherent to their HEP. Better adherence ensures that therapy stays top of mind. This means better outcomes, fewer missed appointments, and more discharges instead of dropouts.

Here are 3 great ways to maximize patient adherence to their Home Exercise Programs:

To PTs, it’s obvious that an HEP is designed to help a patient meet their therapy goals. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for patients.If a patient is not convinced their Home Exercise Program is effective, they are significantly more likely to stop adhering.

A great tactic is to tell people how the exercises will help.

This method is called the mechanism approach for behavioral modification. If a patient comes to you with back pain, simply telling them to stretch their hip flexors will only get you so far. It’s much more effective to explain that tight hip flexors cause overarching of the back, leading to tightness and pain.

Even if a patient doesn’t fully understand the science, it will still increase the likelihood that they adhere to their HEP.

Patients are busy, and a lot of them are not used to exercising on a daily basis. Adding an HEP to their daily routine may be difficult. It includes a bit of a lifestyle change. It’s important to get them to start thinking about incorporating exercise into their daily schedule before they leave the clinic.

When you are giving a patient their HEP, ask them about their daily routine. This conversation will help a patient understand when they can realistically complete their routine on a day-to-day basis. 

As part of this conversation, make sure to give the patients ideas on how to track their progress. This will help improve their self-efficacy and give them immediate feelings of accomplishment. 

Tracking HEP progress is even more effective if the PT is involved! Accountability has a massive impact on behavioral change. For a patient, simply the knowledge that their PT can track their HEP completion history can be the difference in them doing their exercises or not.

One of the best ways to do this is to…

These days, a piece of paper just won’t cut it. To truly keep patients engaged, we need to use 21st-century technology. This means delivering HEPs through an effective platform.

Here are some features to look for:

However, the best Home Exercise Program platform is useless if a patient never gets set up in the first place. To prevent this, make sure to educate your patient on the features and value before they leave your clinic. Accessing a list of exercises is just one motivating factor – if they also understand that they can message you on the platform, they will be much more likely to go through the setup process.

In the business world, companies have to excite their customers after a purchase to avoid buyer’s remorse. In the same way, it’s up to us as therapists to keep patients excited about their care plan.

Implement the following 3 tactics to maximize patient adherence to Home Exercise Programs:

Keeping a patient engaged in this way will ensure they get to discharge rather than dropout. Want to see how our PT Wired Plus app helps maximize patient engagement?Click here for more information, including a 9-minute demo video with Neil Trickett, PT.    

Vikram is a leading expert in physical therapy technology & the founder of PT Wired, the only 100% custom-branded mobile app service for physical therapy practices. Practice Promotions is proud to partner with PT Wired in offering exclusive mobile marketing features to our clients. Learn more about how Vikram is helping PT & Rehab clinics reduce dropout here.


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