In the last blog post I made the case for starting a Neck Pain Program in your practice. It is a smart business move as it taps into an existing need in your community. A good program produces good patient outcomes and is also very marketable. A true win-win.
I outlined the components of such a program:
- A treatment and management protocol
- Advanced, evidence-based treatment tools and techniques
- Written policies and procedures to maximize adherence to the protocol
- A comprehensive business plan and strategy
In this post I want to focus on the last one of these, the business plan and strategy. At first glance it may seem like a lot of effort to create such a document for simply a new treatment offering, but trust me, it will pay off in spades. Been there and done that!
At this point you have a treatment protocol that your clinicians are going to follow and you have acquired the necessary treatment tools and training. You have captured all of this in a practice policy. Now you should spend some time writing down the plan that will lead to success.
Why is a Neck Pain Program a good idea?
This may seem obvious – new patient admissions, right? You are correct but still spend a bit of time to try to quantify the opportunity.
For example, you may have noticed several publications that suggest that surgical approaches to neck pain are not all that effective when compared to managing the problem without surgery. You are dealing with very informed patients out there; neck pain sufferers are very likely to be aware of the same information. So they are looking for alternatives to surgery by browsing the web.
Do the math: if your county that your practice operates in has 450,000 inhabitants (true for my county of Monterey according to https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk) and 5% of these have neck pain (conservative estimate), that means that there are 22,500 patients with neck pain right now that could use your help.
If your Neck Pain Program does a good job of communicating the benefit to a patient, you can make a conservative assessment that you should be able to draw 0.5% of these people into your practice for a series of treatments. This would result in over 100 new patients!
Neck Pain Program Business Plan and Strategy
A business plan starts with the premise that the effort of launching a Neck Pain Program is an endeavor that makes good business sense. It is a document that describes:
- WHAT you are about to embark on
- WHAT the expected outcomes are going to be
- HOW you are going to go about achieving them
- WHEN you can expect to see the results
WHAT is my Neck Pain Program?
Try to capture the essence of the program in 1 or 2 paragraphs. Something like, “The ABC Neck Pain Program is an evidence-based treatment approach that effectively deals with neck pain of various origins. Treatments are delivered by Neck Pain specialists on our team and augmented by state-of-the art decompression technology. The validated treatment protocol maximizes patient outcomes.”
The program is named, it states that it is supported by evidence, delivered by highly skilled clinicians and supported by good technology. It also promises good patient outcomes.
Why is this important to write down in a business plan? It provides focus. It also enforces an adherence to a certain standard – the evidence. Finally, it also provides you with a message to market. The statement above can be massaged into several good marketing messages to add to your Facebook page or into an ad campaign.
I have found that a good approach to come up with this kind of statement is to hold a brainstorming session with the clinical team. Have someone do a quick review of the evidence and announce the launch of the program. Then ask the team what they think this would/should look like. These kinds of sessions are often very productive.
WHAT is the expected outcome?
Be brief and precise. Write down how many new patients you are expecting to admit and what the revenue will be. This is new revenue, money that is not coming to you right now. You will formulate this goal in your plan and then measure the numbers as you roll out the program. Make sure to ask patients why they have come to see you and identify those that specifically came because they heard about your Neck Pain Program. Track those and compare them against your goal.
HOW are you going to execute?
This section should contain all the nuts and bolts of the program: what protocol are you going to adopt, what equipment are you going to use, what training are you going to give your clinicians, what measures are you going to track, what marketing are you going to engage in, etc.
WHEN can you expect to see results?
This is similar to writing a treatment goal: “In 6 months the Neck Pain Program will have generated 100 new patient admissions and/or $100k incremental revenue.” Putting these numbers in the plan makes it all real. And it keeps everybody committed to the program.
The above is just a rough outline of the contents of such a business plan. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like assistance in this process. Go do it!!
Yorick Wijting, PT, DPT (www.specialistpt.com) received his degree in Physical Therapy in the Netherlands and later his DPT at the University of St. Augustine in Florida. He has practiced physical therapy in various care settings across Europe, South Africa and the United States. He has extensive training and practical experience in electrotherapy and teaches nationally and internationally to medical professionals on its therapeutic use. He is passionate about helping clinicians discover how technology can enhance their efficiency and treatment outcomes.