It’s been a year, already?! Yup. Things just move that fast, these days. Last year, the APTA’s Private Practice Section conference was held in Las Vegas — you can check out our recap, HERE.
Well, this year, we all gathered in Chicago — The Windy City. The venue itself was a bit hit and miss. The formal conference halls and session locations were less than ideal to a cohesive flow. However, the city itself and the company surrounding, more than made up for it during the after hours.
So, without further ado… here is….!
The #PPS2017 — Windy City Recap
1. Better Together, Stronger Together
With less than 8-10% of the potential musculoskeletal market as actual physical therapy customers, this theme rings truer than ever — physical therapists stand to gain much more in partnership, than in competition. Despite the increasingly fluid nature of healthcare with declining reimbursement, value based care, difficulties securing talent, and massive changes in the behaviors of both healthcare consumers and traditionally stable referral sources — opportunities abound for companies that have learned that their businesses are stronger when they work together.
How are they doing this? There have been a cluster of actionable strategies from banding together through MSOs, to formal alliances, to loose strategic partnerships, to brands creating multi-disciplinary hubs for mutual benefit.
More practices are merging resources in multiple areas from marketing, to billing, to contracts, to human resources, and with great importance, in advocacy — particularly at the community and regional level. Much of the motivation for community outreach, at this point, is the sharp decline in reliable referral sources. As referrals represent only one category of lead sources, practices that have primarily relied upon this dimension for business flow have seen tougher times if they have failed to actuate direct to consumer approaches.
If anything, the mindset… the professional culture of collaboration has become necessary emergence in an environment that has traditionally co-existed in silos of isolation.
2. Cash Is “Everywhere”
Now, we’re not saying pure cash practices abound and flourish a plenty. However, the trend is that there are more and more practitioners opening up shop for these micro-practices, side hustles, or whatever label you may attribute them to.
The reason behind this trend is this: PT professionals are tired of feeling like cogs within some corporate machine; and, it just so happens that many healthcare consumers, with their HDHPs, have now essentially become cash buyers of healthcare services. For this reason, more and more clinicians are exploring this market segment with varying levels of success. The biggest challenges have consistently shown to be: (1) growing and scaling the practice, (2) planning for seasonality, and (3) on-boarding talent.
3. Tech, Data, and Outcomes — Oh, My!
Technology has always paved the way to the future, for all industries and all economies. Technology multiplies solution sets in commerce; however, comes with its own challenges as well. Nevertheless, as healthcare continues to rapidly evolve, technology, smart data, outcomes tracking… these continue to be big deal trends within our industry. The big questions is: HOW?
How to leverage technology to be an asset to workflows rather than a hindrance to patient interactions appears to be of universal concern. For this reason, many companies from startups to incumbents are trying to crack this code of patient-provider interaction on many types of platforms from EHR, to email, to direct messaging. Whatever the case might be, this wave has created even more opportunities for providers to explore non-traditional, non-clinical career opportunities. This is, of course, great news since new grads to established owners alike — everyone seems to be burning out on straight clinical practice in some form, some fashion, and some inevitable cycle-points within the career path.
4. It’s Not What You Know…
It’s who you know. And, it’s not what you do — it’s how you do it.
For this conference, more so than any previous — it’s become more than apparent that networking is the real value proposition of such conferences. It’s not so much the sessions, programming, or speakers — while all are well and excellent… it is the bar-side chats, the party screaming conversations, and the late night walks on the town where relationships are cultivated. The same relationships which become future partners, future customers, and life long colleagues for years to come.
Speaking of… just in case you missed it, here’s our bar-side convo with Heidi Jannenga of WebPT, and Strive Labs CEO Scott Hebert & COO Ryan Klepps. The topic: Mergers and Acquisitions within PT on this special episode of Therapy Insiders LIVE.
5. Business… It’s Getting Personal
“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” — The Godfather.
Yeap. THIS, is changing. As a result of the physical therapy community being such a small world, it’s inevitable that some feathers can get ruffled, from time to time. Typically, things are heated across the negotiations table and relaxed across the bar. Much of this has been preserved for quite some time. However, things are starting to change… just enough for people to notice.
Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s because of email. Maybe it’s because the all-sided pressure of the ever changing landscape of healthcare is just that intense. Maybe, business has always been personal. Or, maybe… business behaviors are changing. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s become very evident that business is becoming more and more personal.
What does this mean? Make more friends and less enemies. Find more growth opportunities and less sharp edges for competition. Elevate your mindset to a place where collaboration is championed. Choose your sides carefully. And, hang on for the ride!
Check These Snapchat Story & Spectacles Highlights!
Definitely don’t miss out on the stage dive 😉
Outside of my biggest mistake being taking that early morning flight, flanked by the time change after the conference… averaging 4.4 hours of sleep a day surrounding the event… #PPS2017 was an energized experience with hints that high octane happenings is just around the corner — both internally within the profession, and externally throughout the entire ecosphere of healthcare, itself.
For me, the biggest lesson I learned is that strategic partnerships will win the future. Find your partners, allies, friends, and blue oceans NOW. There’s a storm of change coming — change which will cause growth, and change that will challenge companies and individuals alike, causing those with the grit to hold strong together & to keep going, to ultimately win.
It’s a very good time to cultivate the culture of the #FamilyWin and to share each others stories of #PTwins. It is through this approach that we win as practitioners, as an industry, and most importantly… that people who need us in their healthcare experience, can actually have access to our services.