Leverage Technology

3 Ways Software Can Improve Physical Therapists’ Efficiency

I’ve worked in tiny clinics, bloated hospitals, and mid-sized clinics. I preferred mid-sized clinics simply because things seemed to flow better. We had an excellent front desk staff and their work, combined with an office management software that never glitched or shut down, allowed me to leave work at a reasonable hour.

Compare that to other clinics, where scheduling mistakes (due to inevitable human error) ultimately turned into  unnecessary chaos in the office, delays for patients, and wasted practitioners’ time.

Office and practice management software is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. From cutting your documentation time, to allowing you to easily track patient stats, it can make a PT’s life infinitely easier. For better or for worse, America is all about efficiency. PTs are no exception, so here are 3 ways that software can help you be more efficient as you grow your career and build your brand.

1. Good software allows you to access information from anywhere

For PTs who work out of the home or visit their clients at home, this cuts down on your travel time tremendously and eliminates your need for an office assistant. Have you ever worked in a clinic where you have no access to your daily schedule, even though it changes daily? You may arrive for your 8:00 AM patient, only to find that all your appointments have been canceled until 11:00, leaving you scrambling to figure out how to fill 3 hours of your time.

I discovered the new practice management software Swellby.com to resolve these problems and it’s been a game changer for my business. This cloud-based software does away with that headache, allowing you to check in anytime. That means you can check your schedule at 7 AM from the comfort of your bed. If your patient is still scheduled to arrive on time, great! Off to work you go. But if you find you have a few cancellations, you can catch up on documentation from home. Or exercise. Or simply relax!

How many times have you left work, only to remember that you promised to call a patient’s doctor about a question they had, but left the patient’s file stored at work, and the front office staff is gone for the day?

When you can access information about the patient and physician remotely, your time-management dramatically improves and you’re able to then perform work-related tasks when it’s convenient for you. Swellby.com is great for this and it has been such a time saver when, for example, I have to touch base with an MD or look up a new diagnosis on my day off. Now I can just do that from my laptop.

2. New physical therapists can gradually build virtual practices

These new online marketplaces are great for budding professionals. Most new grad PTs choose to work at established practices at least for their first few years out of school. But for those who dream of starting their own practice, the thought of transitioning can be daunting. Launching a new practice can be expensive and time-consuming, and it comes with a lot of risks. Software can help ease that growing pain in significant ways. Virtual practice management software can be expensive, but Swellby.com performs this service for free. It’s also cloud-based, cutting the risk of a computer failure wiping out all your hard work. It even functions as a virtual back office. This type of software is ideal for new PTs.

Starting slowly with free software can help you keep your day job, but leverage the connections you make outside of work to slowly build a practice. Possibly even work toward a cash pay practice!

The nice thing about practice management software is that you can track patients, schedule them, bill for your services, and generally stay organized. And when that software is cloud-based, you can access it from anywhere. So if you meet someone at a wedding and they complain about their knee, you can add them into Swellby’s system from the mobile app and call them the next day to book an appointment!

3. Some software helps you build your brand and your network

In the past, if you wanted to build your brand in the PT field, you had only a few options. You could get some business cards and start aggressively networking at awkward mixers. You could also market to physicians during part of your patient care hours. You could join a softball team and be the go-to PT.

But with the advent of the internet, branding yourself is taking a definitively new meaning. Sites like Yelp and Healthgrades.com are popping up. They can make your life heaven or hell, depending on who decides to review your services. So it’s in your best interest to use all the software options out there to help yourself.

Patients can log onto Swellby, search for a PT that is convenient to them, and then a clinician’s’ name will pop up. This makes it an ideal pick for PTs who are fresh out of school and trying to establish themselves, as well as clinicians ready to establish a practice. It’s targeting non-MD health and wellness providers, so if you meet a massage therapist, OT, ST, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or mental health therapist whose services you’d like to recommend, you can point your patients to Swellby.com to book with them as well. This is an excellent way to build a network of interdisciplinary professionals to support each other’s professional growth.

What software do you use, new grads?? Do you love it? Hate it?

About Meredith Victor Castin

Meredith Victor Castin
Meredith is the co-founder of NewGradPhysicalTherapy.com and the founder of The Non-Clinical PT. She is originally from Tyler, TX and attended UPenn for undergrad, before graduating with her DPT from USA (San Diego) in 2010. She has worked in outpatient ortho, inpatient rehab, acute care, and home health. She loves spending time with her husband and 3 cats, and enjoys creating art and weird music.

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