3 Tips For Developing A Patient-Centered Practice

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For physical therapy providers, practice management is quickly evolving from a disease-centered model to a patient-centered model, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The ideology behind this shift is to make patients active participants in deciding treatment, whereas the traditional model emphasized a physician’s expertise as the sole factor in making medical decisions. This is not to say that medical professionals still don’t use their mirth of knowledge and experience to provide patient care. Instead, it is an opportunity for patients to consider different personal treatment options when several courses have been identified. For therapists, this could mean presenting patients with various therapy options and then walking them through each one to reach a decision together. Here are three tips for making your practice patient-centered:

1. Ask questions 
Physical therapy providers can gather patient insights with questionnaires and surveys to get a better understanding of what measures patients would like to see implemented in their practice. EHRs that utilize a patient portal are a platform for asking questions and collecting patient data. Moreover, this creates an open dialogue between patients and providers, which gives patients more opportunities to vocalize concerns. Questionnaires potentially also give providers information about symptoms and other factors that can be then used to create a personalized treatment plan.

2. Adopt ICD-10
A patient-centered practice is dedicated to providing the most accurate patient history. ICD-9 is out-of-date and is based on antiquated technology and clinical terminology. Though the date for ICD-10 adoption was pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015, providers should utilize this time to become well-versed in the updated classification system. ICD-10 provides contemporary medical terminology and better works with an EHR system. Effective usage of ICD-10 will help increase the accuracy of medical coding, leading to better quality patient care.

3. Encourage patient input 
Patients should feel comfortable discussing treatment with their providers. If a patient doesn’t mention symptoms or is hesitant to ask questions, it may lead to errors in patient care. While questionnaires and surveys are a good starting point for gathering patient insights, initiating a conversation in which patients can feel confident discussing their questions, opinions and concerns will lead to more natural patient-centered practice. The more closely providers work with other medical professionals and patients, the closer the health care industry will be to becoming a patient-centered field overall.


This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.