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The Importance of Patient Engagement in Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is not a passive treatment, but rather a highly active and interactive engagement between therapist and patient. Patients often view physical therapy as an extension of medical treatment, which is often passive in nature. They go to the doctor and receive treatment, with very little input in the process. With physical therapy, patient engagement is fundamental to compliance and ultimate success. Engaged patients are more likely to keep appointments, complete homework and ask relevant questions. They are also more likely to become loyal life-long customers, providing an ongoing stream of revenue for years on end.

Relationship-Building is Key

The key to patient engagement is relationship. When patients feel valued as individuals and perceive a sense of empowerment, they form bonds with their therapists that supersede traditional patient-provider ties. When an entire office is genuinely welcoming and respectful of a patient’s needs, it instills trust and cultivates loyalty.

Ideally, relationship-building begins before the patient’s initial evaluation. Early engagement lays a foundation of trust, giving a new patient a preview of the level of service and care they can expect.

Early engagement may entail sending a new patient information such as:

  • directions to the clinic
  • instructions about what to wear
  • an introductory overview of the clinic
  • an article explaining the patient’s condition

Hopefully, a new patient will review the sent materials and will arrive with a sense of engagement as part of the team. Connecting with patients prior to their first appointment helps to frame their expectations and understanding of what PT is, and to cement their buy-in in reaching their goals.

Engagement During the Course of Care

From the very first visit, the therapy team should strive to build trust through skill, empathy and transparency. Emphasis should be placed on the importance of compliance in attending scheduled sessions and adhering to a provided home exercise program (HEP). The HEP keeps patients engaged between sessions while promoting faster recovery.

Engagement Beyond Course of Care

Once the course of care has been completed, patient engagement remains essential to sustaining a long-term relationship, increasing referrals and the likelihood of future care. Strategies for ongoing engagement include:

  • automated email updates about the cliic
  • information, mailed or emailed, about risk reduction
  • complimentary “check-up” sessions
  • demographic-specific articles of interest

At Back to Health, our therapists spend quality time with each patient, building relationships while utilizing the most innovative and evidence-based therapy programs. We are dedicated to producing the fastest and most effective long-term results.

Patients at Back to Health play an integral role in their treatment, becoming a part of our team of experts. Contact Back to Health today, and see why our professional staff and clinics are the very best in Brooklyn.

03/11/2017