When you discharge a patient, I hope you don’t say, “We really appreciate your business!” and leave it at that. I have a simple ‘last visit & follow-up system’ that I use to encourage word-of-mouth referrals and positive online reviews. It’s quite simple and will be easy for you to implement as well.

I’d like to say up front that I do not wait till the patient’s last visit to start encouraging them to think of others that may benefit from my services. However, this post is about my actions around a patient’s Discharge so I will focus on that.

The last visit with a physical therapy patient

During the patient’s last visit, I make sure to say and discuss a good number of things. I genuinely thank them for trusting me with their (or their child’s) care, and I let them know that it was a pleasure having them in the clinic. I tell them that they should never hesitate to call or email if they ever have any questions or concerns about their musculoskeletal health or fitness. I remind them to mention Carter Physiotherapy whenever anyone they know complains of pain or injury.

I also let them know that I like to keep in touch with my patients and occasionally check in on them to see how they are doing. In this way, it doesn’t seem so out-of-the-ordinary if I occasionally call or email to make sure their hamstring strain or rotator cuff injury is still pain-free. This last statement also serves to open them up to receiving an email that I send within a day or two of discharge. That email says something along the lines of:

Dear ____ ,

It was a pleasure working with you in my clinic and I deeply appreciate you trusting me with your care.

The biggest compliment and “thank you” I could ever receive is the referral of someone you care about. Of course, many people search online before deciding on a service, so if you feel compelled to let others know about your experience, please go to my Google Places profile and leave a review. Click on the link and look for the red button that says “Write a Review.” You will also need to give a star rating by clicking the little row of stars. (1=lowest, 5= highest rating)

If you ever use Yelp.com, please post the review there as well.

Thank you again for your trust, your business, and your time. It means more than I can say.

All the best,

Jarod Carter PT, DPT, MTC

Followup after that last visit

I must admit that I just recently started sending this post-discharge email with links to my review sites, but I can already see that I will have many more online reviews over time due to this practice.

As mentioned above, I continue to touch base and follow up with my patients periodically. I maintain a quarterly email newsletter, and I also call or email to check in at 2-5 months post-discharge. In doing so, I occasionally have patients schedule another treatment or two if any pain has returned or if something else has begun bothering them.

Are there any things that you do at/after a patient discharge that I haven’t mentioned above? Please share your methods with us in the comments below.

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