Modernisation of the Physiotherapy Clinic
This week’s blog has a focus on the modernisation of physiotherapy clinics. However, the principles discussed here can be extrapolated to other Allied Health Professions and their clinics too.
The number of Physiotherapists graduating from universities is increasing. In the past 10-15 years alone, the number of universities offering Bachelor or Masters have increased. What this means is more and more graduates moving into the Physiotherapy profession and with a limited number of hospital positions available, and a general increase in Physiotherapists going into private practice for themselves or someone else, this results in an increasing number of physiotherapy clinics popping up ‘on every corner’.
For the physiotherapy clinic, the physiotherapy competition is local (for now at least) and not global. With the speed in technological innovation and improvement this will certainly change in some way in the future.
So the question is, what are the ways a physiotherapy clinic can differentiate itself from other clinics around it and avoid becoming a commoditised service?
The ‘Soft Edge’ style, popularised in Rich Karlgaard’s The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success which includes such things as integrity, honesty and communication is a great starting point. We all know the absolute intangible value that comes from developing great relationships with patients, clients (local corporates, industry, sporting teams and hospitals), referrers and our own teams. Without this, business simply doesn’t come in the door.
And once patients are coming to see you, how do you engage with them from start to finish (or is there a finish?) in a way more effective than any other clinic around you?
This is where the modernisation of the physiotherapy clinic comes into play. Some clinics are now registering themselves as dot.physio (www.dot.physio) domains to help prospective new patients find them. Such an initiative provides instant professional recognition, higher ranking on search engines and connection and protection of the physiotherapy clinic’s personal brand – vital to on-going success in an increasingly saturated market.
Then once patients are with you, how do you keep them engaged throughout their physiotherapy experience and beyond that? How do patients become part of your physiotherapy clinic’s community? Social Media is playing a bigger role now, with clinics establishing their own Facebook and Twitter accounts predominantly. Having ‘likes’ and followers provides an additional marketing avenue for the clinic and also the opportunity for the clinic to provide meaningful online content that is relevant to its community.
And then there is the further emergence of technology in physiotherapy clinics. As it rapidly improves, technology is becoming even more affordable. What was once only in the budgets of large corporates and hospitals now can be afforded by physiotherapy clinics. One such example is online and app-based exercise prescription software which allows the patient to take home a much more accessible and accurate extension of the clinic. The physiotherapist, being able to monitor patient progress virtually, can thus start delivering whole-of-care in a way that has not been previously captured. This means increased short-term value for the patient and increased long-term value for the physiotherapy clinic.
In short, with an increasing number of physiotherapy clinics (and other types of allied health clinics) appearing in the private healthcare market, individual clinics need to leverage off the soft edge skills that have traditionally been established in successful clinics. Leveraging involves use of things such as profession-specific domain names, social media and technology such as remote exercise-prescription software.
Whether all physiotherapy clinics agree with this blog or not is one thing. But you can be sure that if your physiotherapy clinic isn’t doing it, a local competitor down the road is or soon will be. And patients and clients are looking for increased value in all walks of life, including their healthcare.
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