Why getting more post-surgical patients may be easier than you think…
One of the most common marketing challenges for independent physical therapists is getting a larger market share of post-surgical patients. Many independents describe the battle for their share of this profitable segment as a lost cause. They say that’s because physicians and hospitals control the post-surgical care conversation, leaving them out.
Is it a lost cause, or a strategic marketing problem ripe with opportunity? From our experience, it’s most definitely an opportunity. Not only do we see rapid growth in orthopedic procedures such as joint replacements, we also see the public’s PT utilization rates growing as well. So if you can figure out how to leverage your marketing to tap into this growth, you’ll increase your share.
For people ages 45-64, recent CDC research reports that 33 of every 100 individuals visit an orthopedic surgeon annually. The top four reasons or complaints given by patients were knee, shoulder, back, and post-operative. For people ages 65-74 the numbers are even higher, averaging 48 visits per 100 population. And the 45-64 age demographic grew from about 62 to 81.5 million in the ten year period from 2000-2010. That’s 31.5% growth.
CDC data from that same year report 719,000 total knee replacements and 332,00 total hips, or more than 1 million procedures. As a physical therapy marketer (and just using common sense), I want to suggest that the 1 million who actually have the procedure is a small fraction of those who are thinking about, postponing, or just trying to avoid it.
Pre-Surgical Anxiety and Fear Can Motivate Patients To Prepare
Joint replacement is an emotional and very intense decision for people. That’s why these people are highly motivated to seek out services that help them gather information, consider all their options, and select service providers.
Many independent physical therapy providers would like to play a bigger role in serving this population, but complain that institutions and physician owned practices “steal” all the patients and resist referring. This complaint is a symptom of poor marketing posture and frustration, not a reason to conclude that their “independence” is a business weakness rather than a strength.
With the right marketing strategy and tactical plan the opportunity is there for independent physical therapists to improve and enhance an important layer of the patient experience; a layer best served by independent practitioners who can be innovative, flexible, more personal, and less institutional.
It’s a bit like the old classic movie “Field of Dreams.” Build it, and they will come. We’re here to help make building your Field quicker and easier than you might think.
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Thanks for reading.