When I was flying back to New Jersey from Austin, Texas after attending a conference, a copy of USA Today was handed out to business first passengers and it had a very interesting article about chronic pain management and I captured a quick video about my thoughts on the article here.
The article (which was published in USA today and can be accessed here) was written by Kevin Pho, a primary care physician in Nashua, N.H.
According to the article, more patients suffer from chronic pain than those with diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
This is a serious problem, and is compounded by the fact that most doctors don’t have a clue how to manage chronic pain.
Here’s the proof, as mentioned in the USA today article:
“According to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 80%-90% of physicians have no formal training in prescribing controlled substances, such as pain pills. It was also emphasized that doctors who treat patients with chronic pain must be fluent in dosing and monitoring the use of pain pills as well as recognizing the signs of abuse”
What I found really interesting was the fact that physical therapy was not listed as an option in the management of chronic pain ANYWHERE in this article.
For amateur private practice owners, this seems discouraging, but for strategic owners, the article (and my strategy below) is an excellent opportunity to use an advanced marketing method I call “pre-emptive physical therapy”. My mental gears went into overdrive as I thought about this problem.
There is a need in the medical community for more education, more resources and more solutions for chronic pain management, right?
That’s exactly where you (and your services) come in.
Why not position physical therapy (and your services) as an option to local doctors? You’ll build credibility in the process AND drive more referrals to your clinic.
You have to go about it the right way, which is why I’ve simplified the process for you.
Here’s what you can do today to educate physicians about the benefits of physical therapy and position yourself as a viable alternative (or adjunct) to prescription medication.
CPM Benefit Summary Letter
Create a list of benefits that your clinic has to offer for patients suffering from chronic pain and draft a letter.
Target Physician List
Identify the doctors in your community who work with chronic pain patients, who are not referring you patients.
Reach out to these doctors by phone / fax / email / personal visit and show them the article from USA today, and your letter explaining why physical therapy should be considered in chronic pain management.
Strategic Success Story Distribution
Follow up a week later with a success story from one of your own patients whom you successfully treated for chronic pain.
After day 10, stay in touch with the doctor’s office once a week. Constantly remind the doctors that physical therapy can help chronic pain patients. Consistent follow up will help you break the ice and get that ‘first referral’. Once you get a referral, go out of your way to get results for the patient and repeat (d) above.
Rinse and repeat the entire process at least once a month with ever local doctor on your list. If you are consistent with these steps, more and more of those doctors will become regular referral sources. You can do the same to your patients since the consumers also need to be educated about the role of physical therapy in chronic pain management.
The medical community is struggling with this problem, and is plagued by concerns of liability over issues like dependence on prescription medication.
The chronic pain management conundrum affects both doctors and patients. Millions of patients need your help.
The only problem is that they are not getting the (physical therapy) referrals from their doctor.
This is a very good opportunity for physical therapists to position themselves as an important treatment option that doctors must explore.This is a great opportunity to market physical therapy.
PS – Did you know that 82% the top 1% income earners in the United States read the Wall Street Journal every single day? This is something I’ve been doing for a long time, and I encourage you to do the same. Start the day with 30 minutes of exercise, followed by 30 minutes of reading the Wall Street Journal over breakfast. I also enjoy reading USA today, which is how I stumbled upon the pain management article in the plane earlier this week.