PT Classroom - 7 Ways to Maximize Downtime ׀ by Nitin Chhoda, PT, DPT


Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT, received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of New England. He is a successful private practice owner and private practice consultant based in Denville, NJ. He conducts workshops, online courses and writes books and articles on private practice marketing.     



7 Ways to Maximize Downtime

It happens all the time – A patient cancels or reschedules at the last minute. The therapist now has a large block of free time. This time must be used effectively, and can be transformed into a period of high productivity for the practice. If the therapist has a clear directive on how to use the downtime, the benefits for the practice and the business are significant.

Introducing 7 quick tips to boost productivity during downtime in your practice. If you can implement even one or two of these ideas the next time a patient cancels, you might find that downtime is the most productive time for your practice.

1) Reconnect with 1 or 2 patients
Call patients who have had an initial evaluation in the past week. Show them that you are always available to assist if they have any questions and remind them of their next appointment. The therapist may also want to call patients who have shown the greatest degree of improvement and congratulate them on a job well done. Remind them of their importance to you, and your commitment to them.

Use this script: "Dear ____, I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and want you to know that getting you better faster is our number one priority. You can help us in the process be arriving on time and doing your exercises at home as consistently as possible. As always, we are always available to answer questions and promise to go out of our way to help you reach our goals. Your success is ours. Thank you and have a great day."

2) Write a newsletter- 200-300 words is sufficient
Write a newsletter for patients. The content in this newsletter should be simple, easy to understand and fast to implement. Nothing build trust and credibility more than a content rich newsletter. Ideally, you want to send this newsletter out to patients and doctors twice a month. You can ask doctors to keep copies of your newsletter in their clinic, and they can make it available to their patients.

3) Generate awareness with 1 media channel
Write a press release, and research Google and other search engines for the contact information of journalists in local newspapers and TV stations. Skim through the local newspaper and find the contact information of one journalist, offer them an article or a press release on topics like this
"Local physical therapist to conduct seminar on pain relief"
"Local physical therapist to reveal low back pain prevention techniques in free workshop"

4) Improve a single system of patient communication
Retrain and improve the phone script utilized by the staff to increase interaction with patients and callers. Make sure the front desk staff have a system in place to communicate with patients. A sample script prior to new patient evaluations could be

"Hello Mr./Mrs.____. This is Emily calling from ABC physical therapy. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow, since our calendar shows you have an appointment for 10 am. Please remember to dress comfortably, since we will be evaluating your movements, strength and flexibility. Thank you for your time, and please call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you have any questions.."

5) Identify the biggest need of a majority of your patients
Identify the single biggest topic that your patients want to hear about and offer a free teleseminar to your patients and prospects. Several services are available online, that allow you to conduct a free teleseminar, usually up to 100 participants. You may also want to consider finding a physician who is also an expert in the same topic and asking him to participate in the educational teleseminar with you. Provide general, universally applicable information and refrain from any specific discussions of treatment. You now position yourself as an authority with the physician.

6) Create a quick 'reports to give away to patients
Create lead generators for your website – narrate a 20 minute audio (using a simple voice recorder) advising patients about the ‘10 best ways to ____’ and offer a free download of the audio to your patients on your website, in exchange for their email address. You can also repurpose the content. Get it transcribed into a book that can also server as a lead generator on your website, or an in-person bonus / gift for patients in your clinic.

7) Introduce a loyalty rewards system
Provide ongoing ‘members only’ benefits for patients who take the ‘most wanted response’ for your practice. (writing a letter to their physicians, giving you a testimonial, referring friends, family etc). Ask for a testimonial the next time a patient indicates satisfaction with your services. Ask in a way that appreciates the patient, instead of obligating the therapist. Video and audio testimonials can be used on your website and written testimonials can be displayed in your clinic.


To learn more about private practice and marketing you can visit Nitins' websites at where you can download his free 4 step formula on how to attract new patients, increase referrals and grow your referral network with a simple 4 step plan and  where you can download a free book on physical therapy marketing.


Last revised: February 16, 2011
by Nitin Chhoda, PT, DPT

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