Although Andy MacKellar has been practising physiotherapy for the past 37 years, it took him no time at all to embrace Telehealth when the Coronavirus hit. His clinic, SHIPS Physio, has been in operation for 10 years and he’s used Power Diary for the last 2 years. After conducting his first couple of sessions, he was quickly convinced that Telehealth will continue to feature in his clinic – even once the current environment improves.
SHIPS Physio specialises in helping clients that have had strokes, head injuries, spinal cord injuries or conditions like Parkinson’s disease. For some clients, Andy is seeing them face to face during home visits, but for others, he believes that Telehealth calls can actually be an excellent addition. As Andy says: “We have been using video “handouts” for about 9 years, but Telehealth video calls change the focus of the discussion and puts more emphasis on what my client can feel. I’ll ask them something like ‘Can you tell if your weight is on the front of the foot or on the heel?’ It’s teaching them to spend more time to really feel and absorb the sensation. If we’re in the same room, we can see what’s happening, so we might not ask that question as readily.”
Many of Andy’s clients can’t leave their homes due to the severity of their conditions, so Andy is augmenting his home visits with Telehealth sessions. He’s calling it a “visiting and video service!” As clients learn to do the exercises and movements independently, it’s helping them engage more with their home program. Andy says: “The biggest difficulty of my working life has been getting people to engage in their home program. Stroke and head injury can disrupt confidence and initiation. By being a bit more distant, we’re more focused on helping our clients to take more of a lead role in their progress.”
Working on the road frequently, Andy loves having the ability in Power Diary to access any information about his practice remotely and from any device. He can quickly check his schedule and pull up the clinical notes from his last visit. “I can access anything I need when I’m out on the move, I can do it either from a little handheld or a laptop. I’ve got access to all my notes, my associate’s notes, my invoices, and anything else I need.”
Andy previously used both TM2 and PPS as practice management systems but says that both had issues. “I could never get my head around some of their features. And there were a lot of errors that they couldn’t explain. The worst of it was that a small number of notes were being lost! This was extremely nervewracking as much of my work is for solicitors for head injury cases etc.”
It was at this point that Andy saw an advertisement for Power Diary and “found it to be dead easy” as well as being “much more powerful and also more customisable.”
“Power Diary saves me a very large number of headaches and makes the end of the month very straight forward.”
Andy particularly likes the treatment note templates included in Power Diary. “It’s lovely to have templates like the Berg Balance Score already ready-made. The system really does quite a bit of the work for you and it’s helped us improve the quality of our record-keeping.” The work at SHIPS Physio is often billed to insurance companies or solicitors, so Andy needs thorough records in case these are ever called upon. He sometimes needs to provide reports about the number of treatments, costs per case, etc.
Andy also explained that after having some problems with other systems, he appreciates the ability to export data as a backup to have on hand at any time.
As someone running a successful physiotherapy clinic, we asked Andy for his advice to physiotherapists when starting their own private practice: “My main advice is to develop a broad referral base and make friends with as many consultants as you can – eg hospital consultants, neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons – depending on your area of specialisation. Then keep in touch with them – especially with referral feedback letters. Establish credibility with those people and get clear about what sort of clients you want.” (For instance, SHIPS Physio does not deal with some private insurers – but he says this is just 11% of the market.)
Andy also says that his website presence has been an important factor in his physio practice. “For years, I followed web designers’ advice and wasted a lot of time and money. It was only once I started writing my own website copy and blog articles that people started to really resonate with the site. So my advice here is that the website has to be all about your client, or in my case, about the patient and their carer. It has to show them that you truly understand what they’re going through. Show that you ‘get it’ by not talking about yourself, but by talking about them. When you do this, you attract the right types of clients and they have confidence in you.”
He sums this up nicely by saying; “Clients don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”
So what would Andy say to physiotherapists who are not using a practice management system, or who are not happy with their existing system?
“Power Diary is economical, sophisticated and it’s been 100% reliable.
I recommend it!”