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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Assessing PT Market Demand

Published February 11, 2009 6:30 PM by Elizabeth Puliti
LAS VEGAS-- In PT - Who Needs It? Exposing & Forecasting Market Demand for Physical Therapy Services, Lynn Steffes, PT, and Bridget Morehouse, MPT, MBA, spoke with PTs on how to accurately assess the market.

"We are facing tremendous economic uncertainty. Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear businesses and the greater population faces," said Steffes.

In this new economy, uninsured people will become insured through government plans. PTs need to think about what that means to their business, she added.

"Suddenly, the way we practice clinically is affected by the economy. What can we do to be proactive?" Steffes asked the audience.

Responses consisted of: having sales on services, extending practice hours, advertising businesses and bundling services. Some practices that are really struggling are getting by through contracting their services to another area, such as outpatient services.

Steffes advised PTs to look at market demographics and ask themselves what these demographics say. "Census data is available to you and you should be looking at it."

Morehouse stated that private practices have an advantage in this current economy. There's change in the market and private practices are agile, she noted.

It's a good idea to collect competitor information and market trends. One way PTs can do this is through identifying all "alternatives" to physical therapy. "PTs tend to look at competitors as only other PT practices," said Steffes, "but people who are paying out of pocket might use massage therapy because they understand what massage therapy is, it's it has a perception of being less expensive and they can control how many times they go."

Literature shows that the quicker patients have access to physical therapy, the quicker they get better. Therefore, "we have to stop clinging to the past and start thinking of proactive solutions," to get patients in the door, Steffes said.


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