“Patient engagement” is a huge a buzz word in the physical therapy world these days. Whether it be a CRM (customer relationship management) software , PRM (patient relationship management), or any sort of automated email system that keeps you connected with your patient and top of mind… that’s “patient engagement”.
There are quite few physical therapy specific PRMs like Strivehub and Hability and more general CRMs like Infusionsoft and Hubspot. But, one of the oldest ways to engage patients while they are out of the office is HEP (home exercise programs). If you think about it, it’s the oldest CRM in physical therapy. If a physical therapist wants to be top of mind when their patient leaves the office, what better way to engage then to give them valuable content in the form of custom prescriptive exercise to perform at home.
Back in the days of VHI cards, a PT would search through a huge box of cards organized by body parts, or activities, pick out the card that corresponded with the Right home exercise she wanted to prescribe, then she’d arrange the cards on the “Xerox” machine and viola! A custom handout was born. The patient felt special to be sure. I know that many patients valued those handouts like gold. To this day, I get patients every so often that bring in a VHI handout from 20 plus years ago to show me a routine they got from a PT back then. Some are laminated and some are tattered and barely readable, but they’ve got ’em and they hold them in high regard because their PT gave it to them, just for them, to make them better. But, the world has changed. Physical therapists cant afford to take the 5-7 minutes or more of searching, arranging, and copying VHI cards.
Now, even with the advent of new exercise video databases, we don’t have the time to waste searching and searching for home exercise videos that we end up tweaking and personalizing anyway once we locate them. Time is money. It can take a physical therapist up to 3-5 minutes to search a database of exercise videos for a patient’s HEP. Let’s do the math. If you charge $150 for a 45 minute treatment session, that’s $3.33/ minute. And if it takes you 5 minutes to search and find the exercises on your computer or tablet that’s $16.65 to produce that single HEP.
Now, with technology improving at lightning speed, there’s a much faster and more personal way to produce and deliver HEP. Take video while you are teaching the patient during their visit. It takes almost zero extra time because you are teaching and your patient is practicing repetitions anyway. All you do is capture the teachable moment on video, with your voice in the background instructing the patient and voila! Modern HEP is born. Now, your patient gets to take you home with them. That’s patient engagement! What better way to gain trust and a solid therapeutic alliance.
Most of the top physical therapists in the country are doing this is some form. But one of the problems is HIPPA compliance. So, many PTs use their patients phone which works okay, but the exercises get lost on the sea of snaps in their photo gallery, which makes them lose value over time and doesn’t keep you top of mind.
That’s why we built the Switchback Health app. It a super simple app that allows you to take HIPPA compliant video and deliver it to your patient so they have scrollable “feed” on their end of the app that looks much like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube but in a HIPPA compliant environment just for you and your patient. Patients are engaged because it’s you and them working together on their specific problem. They’re also engaged because you don’t have walk over to your computer to search for exercises that you already have in your head. It saves a lot time over the course of a full day treating patients. In today’s world of technology, patients are expecting cutting edge treatment delivered in a simple, engaging way. Let’s give it to them! Try the Switchback app Free for 30 days. Your patients will love you for it!