The launch of our 60 minute initial consultations (Discover Recover™ Sessions)
In the second half of 2015 we launched our 60 minute initial physiotherapy consultations. The key driver behind the increase in time for our initial consultations was that we wanted to ensure that all clients got their rehabilitation journey off to the very best start possible. We named our initial consultation a Discover RecoverTM Session.
We believed that by spending a full hour with our clients for their initial consultation that we would be setting their rehabilitation up for success. We believed that the longer time would allow for better delivery of the afore-mentioned key inclusions. There would be no inadvertent ‘short-cuts’ that would only ironically add time to the overall physiotherapy rehabilitation process for the clients.
I have always had the philosophy that good business is ensuring that our clients get more in value than what they pay for. We were certain that the 60 minute initial consultation would ensure that maximum value for the consultation was realised by the fee paying client.I have always had the philosophy that good business is ensuring that our clients get more in value than what they pay for. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
Our Research Into 60 Minute Initial Consultations
In addition to our firm beliefs that offering a 60 minute consultation would be more beneficial for our clients, in 2015 we also collected feedback from our clients. The feedback was gathered through a survey (Fix Physio Survey) that was sent to our client database. This survey is commissioned every year in order to stay at the forefront of offering our clients the best possible service and value.
The survey asked the clients many things relating to how we could improve our physiotherapy service.
One of the questions asked survey respondents to rank what was most important to them in receiving physiotherapy. Interestingly aside from knowing if the physio can help, the second most important criteria when receiving physiotherapy was the time spent with the therapist.
See the graph below for the response to this question:
In the same survey respondents also indicated that they would be prepared to pay for longer initial (and follow up) consultations if such consultations were available. This indicated that clients inherently knew that longer appointments would likely result in better outcomes for themselves. This was a key insight as the client recognised that despite the longer consultations incurring a higher fee for the delivery, the longer consultations were still perceived as beneficial and more favorable.
See the response to this question below in the graph below:
The Feedback for 60 Minute Initial Consultations
The anecdotal and immediate feedback from both clients and therapists upon commencing 60 minute Discover RecoverTM Sessions was very positive.
Feedback From Our Clients
Our clients commented that the 60 minute Discover RecoverTM Session was thorough, not rushed, clear, and offered value. The good news is that feedback from our clients has continued to be positive. The feedback following our Discover RecoverTM Session continues to be that having 60 minutes available puts people at ease, they then feel understood (truly listened to), and therefore have a better initial consultation experience.
For the client an improved initial consultation experience meant that their journey towards crossing their Physio Finish LineTM was off to the best possible start.
Feedback From Our Physiotherapists
Meanwhile the physiotherapists felt like they had been able to give the very best of their professional skill and knowledge in assisting the client to get their rehabilitation off to the very best start possible. For the therapists this was very satisfying. They reported no longer feeling pressured by time constraints when so much needed to happen in the initial consultation.
One common feedback theme from the therapists was that having the full hour available allowed them to really ‘listen’ in full to the client’s history during the assessment phase of the consultation. The benefit for the therapist of this unrushed approach was an increased likelihood of determining an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis in turn resulted in directed verse misdirected treatment.
By misdirected treatment I am referring to treatment aimed at addressing one diagnosis, which if revealed to be the incorrect diagnosis or approach, has delayed the client’s progress, resulting in longer treatment duration, greater frustration, and greater treatment costs.
The unrushed environment also allowed for less likelihood of missing any important contributory factors that contributed to the onset of the client’s injury. The ability to be very thorough with an initial assessment was very satisfying for our clinical team.
The Effect 60 Minute Consultations Had On Our Client’s Finish Line™ Outcomes
In addition to the positive feedback we were receiving we also wanted to objectify the effect that a longer initial physiotherapy consultation was having on our client’s overall rehabilitation outcomes, that is their chosen physio Finish Line™ (Out of pain, or Into Performance).
When we were offering 45 minute initial consultations our total practice Finish Line™ percentage was 34%. That is 34% of our clients were crossing their Physio Finish Line™. In other words 34% of our new clients were achieving in full what they originally came to us to achieve, whether that be to be out of pain, or into performance and back doing what they loved to do physically at 100%.
This statistic might seem alarming, however it did not mean that 66% of our new clients were not happy with the result that they achieved. The majority of clients were very happy with their outcomes. However, the outcome that they achieved was often short of the goal that they had for themselves at the start of treatment. For example, the client may have aimed to be 100% functional, gotten to 80% functional and ceased rehabilitation, citing that ‘near enough is good enough’. While we could have been ‘happy’ that the client was happy, we were often frustrated that the client hadn’t achieved the very best outcome available. The result of this settling with ‘good’ for the client many times would be a future return of the original injury or pain, or a less than possible physical performance of whatever their chosen activity was.
We were aware that introducing a longer 60-minute initial physiotherapy consultation on its own would not necessarily see this overall Finish Line percentage increase to our >80% Finish Line™ target. However we were hopeful that the introduction of the longer initial consultations would have a positive effect on our new client’s outcomes and the practice’s Finish Line™ percentage target.
So after six months of new client’s receiving 60 minute initial Discover Recover™ Sessions we were excited to see that the percentage of Finish Lines™ being crossed by our clients had spiked to 52%. That is one in two clients were now getting across their chosen Physio Finish Line.One in two clients were now getting across their chosen Physio Finish Line. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
Refer to the below chart, an internal document that we use to track our progress with our client Finish Line™ outcomes, for an illustration of the effect of introducing the 60 minute Discover Recover™ Sessions.
Physio With A Finish Line,
Brad Beer (APAM)
Author ‘You CAN Run Pain Free!’
Founder POGO Physio