The ROI of Patient Reactivation in Physical Therapy

This month on the Strive Labs Blog, we’ve been talking about the ROI of Patient Relationship Management (PRM). We’ve discussed the benefits of automation of certain communications with patients, the financial advantages of patient retention through completion of Plan of Care, and the profitability of PRM for lead generation. Today we’re closing out the month by discussing the ROI of PRM for patient reactivation.

What we find quite often in our conversations with practice owners is that many have a heavy focus on new patient acquisition, but no real strategy aimed toward the successful retention or reactivation of patients. We know that this situation leads to lost opportunities to serve your loyal customer base, and therefore lost revenue.

Here’s what the data says about the value of keeping in touch with past customers (highlights from an excellent infographic found here):

  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.

  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, when compared to new customers.

  • Email marketing is the most effective marketing tactic for customer retention (yet most practice owners don’t have an automated platform for providing the right information to the right patient at the right time).

This data clearly demonstrates that your existing (or past) patients - especially your Promoters - are your best source of not only referrals, but also continued business. While we know the value of great outcomes for your practice (successful completion of Plan of Care and an eventual end to that course of care), we would like to encourage you to stop thinking in terms of “discharging” your patients.

As physical therapists, we begin building our relationship with our patients prior to even meeting them. We may speak to potential patients on the phone or provide them with materials to introduce them to our valuable services (this includes our website, online reviews, and/or automated communications explaining what they should expect from their first appointment with us). We then meet with patients at the evaluation, and begin to build trust by listening and partnering with our patients. We continue to build the relationship during the patient’s course of care, reaching the goals that they identified as important in the first meeting.

And then…we “discharge” them. We slap them on the back, hand them a t-shirt with our company logo on it, and say, “Stop by and say hi some time!”

Do you realize the absurdity of that situation? Yet we do it every day – because we were taught that a successful therapist discharges their patients.

What I would like to suggest to you is that it’s crazy to abruptly cut off a relationship with someone with whom you have invested a great deal of time and energy in order to build trust. A relationship like that deserves to be maintained, and you can continue to grow the relationship by adding value to this person’s life.

Patient Relationship Management (PRM) is about creating and maintaining loyal customers (that’s our tagline at Strive Labs, by the way). I would encourage you to think about your patients “completing a course of care” rather than being “discharged.” When a patient has a great outcome and completes their course of care, you can close out that course of care without ending your relationship with the patient.

There are many ways to continue to offer value to your patients after they have completed their course of care. Perhaps you host educational seminars at your clinic, or participate in community events – your loyal customers would certainly find value in those offerings. Perhaps you write content about common injuries and what physical therapy can do to help – PRM automation allows you to send the right articles to the right patients at the right time. Or maybe you offer free wellness screens – your Promoters can easily share this information with their networks.

A few months ago, we featured Strive Labs customer Solutions Physical Therapy on our blog as a customer success story. Andy Sotirokos, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS shared with us how Solutions PT ran a successful reactivation campaign.

To start, Andy said that Solutions PT sent out NPS® surveys to patients in December 2015. They received good feedback and were able to easily identify their Promoters. Recently, Solutions PT decided to run a reactivation campaign to reach out to past patients with an offer for a free wellness screening. The email reactivation campaign was only sent to Promoters, as a way to reconnect with those former patients that reported that said they would recommend Solutions PT to their friends and family. Through the NPS®, Solutions PT identified 390 Promoters among their past patients.

Solutions PT used a landing page designed by Strive Labs for the campaign, including a contact form for interested patients. The link to the landing page was emailed out through StriveHub Reach to all Promoters. Then the Solutions PT team reached out via phone to patients who said they were interested in signing up for the screening. Since the physical therapists at Solutions PT practice under Direct Access, they were able to offer the ability to convert to a physical therapy evaluation on the spot for any patients who complained of pain or dysfunction on the day of the screening.

Two different emails were sent to the Promoters about 2 weeks apart. Solutions PT had 53 patients sign up for the screening. Andy shared that after the first email, the returning patients generated enough revenue to recoup 2/3 of the financial investment in StriveHub for the entire year. The second email campaign easily generated enough revenue to not only pay for the remaining cost of StriveHub for the year, but generate a positive ROI after only 4 months of being a StriveHub customer.

The conversion rate from the second email campaign was 66% (66% of those Promoters contacted scheduled and arrived for a screening). Of those who arrived, 92% converted to an initial evaluation or re-evaluation. Andy shared that it was well worth it to invest in StriveHub to identify Promoters and reactivate those who would benefit from physical therapy intervention (see more on leveraging patient evangelists here).

Reactivation campaigns benefit your practice financially, while at the same time benefiting your local community. As Direct Access providers, physical therapists must take responsibility for inquiring about the patient's general health at their initial evaluation. We must take vital signs, document medications, and ask about any lab work the patient has recently undergone.

During the evaluation, we are assessing the patient's general level of alertness and cognition, safety during ambulation and assessing for falls risk. Through a reactivation campaign, we are periodically checking on the patient's general level of health, and making appropriate referrals and recommendations. This leads to downstream savings for healthcare and improved health and quality of life for our communities.

Have you ever wanted to reach out to your discharged patients, but didn't know quite where to start? We recognize that starting from scratch can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you're doing it on your own. So we've put together a patient reactivation outline for you, complete with example email copy for you to use going forward.

If you'd like to learn more about how StriveHub can help automate patient reactivation, click below to sign up for a demo!

Sign Up for a Demo!

Ann Wendel

Physical Therapist, Writer, Speaker, Consultant, Kettlebell Lover. Director of Brand Marketing for @strive_labs and @APTAtweets Media Spokesperson.