How to Improve Therapist Productivity in Hospital Rehab Clinics
Rehab therapists are at the heart of hospital therapy operations. Without a team of effective therapists, it would be a struggle to care for the sheer number of patients who need to be seen each day. However, that’s not to say that time-consuming manual processes or cumbersome documentation systems can’t derail productivity for our whole department.
Fortunately, we’ve discovered ways to improve rehab therapist productivity in hospital therapy clinics—and increase therapist satisfaction along the way.
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Our Shared Dilemma
Hospital Directors of Rehab manage care for a variety of settings and therapy departments. They’re often responsible for leading teams of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. Not to mention, they’re constantly striving to impress the hospital’s CEO or COO and help patients reach peak functional improvement.
Shifts begin the moment they step foot into the hospital, and their thoughts are typically on their teams, even once they return home. When they arrive to work, they’re greeted with stacks of printed orders. From rescheduled appointments to rehab billing guidelines, their whiteboards are papered with sticky notes. Even though they run a tight ship, there’s no denying that delays in documentation and manual processes create a team-wide dilemma that can negatively impact therapists and patients alike.
How Poor Productivity Impacts Hospital Therapy Operations
Both outpatient rehab therapy and acute care rehab rely on high therapist productivity. Productivity in hospital therapy operations is typically measured by healthcare output, such as the quantity and quality of care. Therapists are generally held accountable for the number of patients seen each day and the quantity of billable units.
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When daily functions limit therapist productivity, they all feel the impact. A National Survey of Inpatient Rehabilitation Professionals completed by The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy revealed clinicians are concerned that growing productivity pressures are impacting the quality of care they provide.1 According to the survey, increased pressure to improve productivity is leading to clinician burnout, decreased time spent with patients, and unethical billing.2 Without simple tools to streamline therapist productivity, the pressure to perform can decrease clinic efficiency as a whole.
Tips to Improve Rehab Therapist Productivity
When therapist productivity declines, it’s crucial to take a step back and ask the hard questions like, “What doesn’t work?” or “Where can we improve?” Rather than ramping up longer hours, identify opportunities to improve processes and create consistency across all therapy departments instead. From billing documentation to scheduling dilemmas, implement a uniform approach to managing patient data and daily therapist case flow.
Once we can simplify the multiple facets of our hospital therapy clinics and eliminate unwieldy manual processes, we can allow our therapists to become more productive (and happier) each day.
Get Insights on Therapist Productivity + More
Download our latest E-book, “5 Ways to Enhance Your Hospital Therapy Operations,” for additional tips to improve hospital therapy operations across multiple settings. From acute care to outpatient therapy, learn how to promote continuity of care throughout the patient journey, ensure access to relevant data and reporting, facilitate communication, and enhance patient outcomes.
Net Health Therapy for Outpatient Clinics and Net Health Therapy for Acute Care enable physical and occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists to improve clinical and business outcomes by increasing efficiency and standardizing patient care. Together, our targeted solutions address the specific challenges faced by therapists operating in hospital therapy programs, including practice management, documentation, billing, and overall efficiency. Designed to help Hospital Directors of Rehab holistically meet productivity demands, our solutions delight therapists and satisfy patients—what more could we ask for?
1, 2. Bennett, L. E., Jewell, V. D., Scheirton, L., McCarthy, M., & Muir, B. C. (2019). Productivity Standards and the Impact on Quality of Care: A National Survey of Inpatient Rehabilitation Professionals. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 7(4), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1598
5 Tips to Boost Therapist Productivity
Whether you represent a large health system or a smaller, rural hospital, maintaining high therapist productivity is a crucial element to ensuring success for your hospital therapy program.