"The integrated care program has the overall goal to help people enhance their quality of life, restore their function and reduce overall pain," says Scott Anderson, COO of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute in Peoria, Ill. "Practices must understand how to implement an integrated care program to generate more new patients, enhance care and differentiate themselves."
Here, Mr. Anderson discusses how spine and pain practices can structure the functional component of their services to drive patient volume, outcomes and satisfaction.
1. Focus on a brand name for your program. Spine and pain practices can differentiate their comprehensive group from others providing the same services by building a brand name. "We wanted to build a brand name that told patients they could get services here that they couldn't get anywhere else in the market," says Mr. Anderson. "We came up with PowerCore for Life as a way to brand our program. Functional restoration through manual therapy is a common process done by physical therapists, but we wanted to coin a term that the consumer could connect with and differentiate what we do." This component of care is called "CoreMotion."
The PowerCore for Life program has three components: Quality of Life, Restoration of Function and Pain Reduction. Each component of care has three subgroups describing how patients can achieve their goals. The restoration of function subgroup includes:
• CoreMotion: This component of care includes manual therapies which help patients to regain active motion;
• CoreStrength: Here we work on core muscles to regain lost strength.
• CoreControl: This component focuses on re-educating the body to improve overall balance and control.
Click here to see how Prairie Spine & Pain Institute has branded all three components of the practice.
2. Implement new equipment and technology. Acquiring new technology and equipment to help patients and providers measure and improve outcomes strengthens the practice's reputation as a leader in the community. Prairie Spine & Pain Institute was able to acquire computerized functional rehabilitation equipment to enhance its overall integrated comprehensive care program.
"Function is the whole idea of being able to get a person back to a comfortable level of motion and utility," says Mr. Anderson. "In many circles, this is referred to as physical therapy, but you can get 'physical therapy' anywhere; we wanted to come up with unique equipment, concepts and terms to differentiate our program from our competitors."
While the cost of the equipment can be prohibitive, it improves the program by calculating the patient's progress and producing positive outcome results. Another, less expensive, tool Prairie Spine & Pain Institute has implemented is the Wii Fit, which allows patients to undergo physical therapy in a more fun and comfortable environment.
"When you do dance routines in Wii Fit, you are doing the dancing and you forget about the exercise," says Mr. Anderson. "You are so in tune with playing the game, you forget you are getting functional restoration, core strength and exercise."
3. Develop a practice story to promote throughout the healthcare community and referring physicians. Your practice should develop and promote a positive narrative about its services and comprehensive program for both patients and referring physicians. However, make sure your practice is committed to supporting claims of innovation and quality inherent to this narrative.
"You can have unique equipment and brand names that help you develop a story line when you talk to primary care physicians about how you are going to help their patient population," says Mr. Anderson. "With all of this in place, you will get several new patients. I have implemented this concept multiple times and every time it works exceptionally well."
4. Establish the value of therapy for insurance companies. With government regulators and insurance companies scrutinizing outcomes and patient services at a higher level than ever before, it's important to have data showing the quality of your program. For Prairie Spine & Pain Institute, its new physical therapy equipment is able to measure and track outcomes that support their claim of providing better care.
"The equipment costs a lot of money but sometimes it's worth spending money on equipment to differentiate yourself," says Mr. Anderson. "It has more value than the physical cost of the equipment because it has an impact on the story we tell to the community: your outcomes are dramatically improved. If you can measure the results of your therapy program, this tells the insurance company a lot."
5. Measure progress and outcomes for patients. While measuring outcomes has become important for optimizing reimbursement and complying with government regulations, it can also enhance the patient's experience. "Sometimes patients can't feel progress even when it's happening, so they discontinue care and do medication management only," says Mr. Anderson. "However, if you can demonstrate improvement to patients with a computer print out, it makes all the difference in the world."
The physical therapy equipment at Prairie Spine & Pain Institute tracks patient progress and converts the data into a graph that shows where they started and how their performance level has grown.
More Articles on Spine & Pain Practices:
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5 Points on Incorporating a Health Coach Into a Spine & Pain Group
5 Steps to Implement Functional Therapy at Spine & Pain Practices FeaturedWritten by Laura Miller | July 09, 2012
Comprehensive spine and pain management practices must include several key components to care for patients: behavioral therapy, functional rehabilitation and interventional care. These components should be coordinated for each individual patient to optimize treatment success.
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