The age old question (for healthcare providers at least)

The age old question


How do we get patients in the door? Many therapists, especially the mom and pop clinics, struggle with this question. Some physicians are spoken for by specific companies, which makes getting a referral from the physician difficult. Some insurance companies are making it difficult to see a physical therapist of choice, at least without you paying $$$$ out of pocket. So how do we get patients?


  1. “…marketing to physicians-would not provide the expected revenue stream. Instead, a direct-to-consumer marketing strategy was needed and needed fast!”


Why does it take so long for PT’s to catch on to this concept? I have heard it all my career; “patient’s need a referral in order to come to therapy, so we should market to physicians.” There’s a great documentary done by a fellow meathead called “Prescription Thugs”. Drug companies realize that if they can sell their drugs to the patients, that the patients will go to their respective physician and ask for the prescription. The question is where do we want to spend our marketing dollars or time? I have seen over and over again, the physical therapists takes coffee to the physician and tries to grab the physicians ear for a couple of minutes. THIS WILL NOT WORK! Think about it. When you go to the physician, how much time do you actually see the doctor? What…5 minutes…maybe 10 max? How much time do you think that the doctor has to offer you…for free? Not much. With that said, there are some companies that have doctors ears. I will let you make the conclusion about how they are able to get into the doctors ears for 5 minutes.

I think that a good t.v. commercial would look like this…dream with me.  A father picking up his child and having a big red throbbing circle radiating from his back.  Black screen. A mother breast-feeding her daughter and a big red throbbing circle radiating from her neck. Black screen. A weekend warrior doing pull-ups with a red circle radiating from the shoulder.  A different weekend warrior playing basketball with the circle from the knee.  Black screen.  DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS?  Go talk to your doctor and then see

My biggest referral source is previous patients. I have so many patients requesting me at this point that I am unable to satisfy the need in a 40-hour work week. There are many private practices that would kill to have this problem. I see this as a major problem though because I stand for very personalized care to each patient and if I can’t get the patient in the door…it’s not very personalized.


  1. “1. Clearly define the customer”


Who is my customer? Anyone that I come in contact with knows about my blog. Everyone is my customer. This is where you define your elevator pitch. What do you do? I can tell you what I do. I offer specialized care in which I take the puzzle that is your problem and break it down into smaller pieces that you can understand and teach you how to aide in not only fixing yourself, but preventing your problem from returning. I am a teacher, disguised as a physical therapist. My customer is anyone that has a problem…puzzle…that revolves around movement based pain or limitations.


  1. “2. answer the question, ‘Why should the consumer come to our clinic specifically and pay cash at our practice”’


I will give you value. Within a short number of visits I will teach you about your problem. I will guide you and teach you how to fix your problem. I will educate you on why this may have started and how to keep it from coming back again. I will ensure that you understand the basics of human movement. I will guide you to resources that you can read if you want to learn more than you can in a short number of sessions. I will tell you if therapy will help you. I will tell you if you are more likely to respond to surgery than to therapy.


Not only that, but I will do this in a short number of sessions in order to save you money in the process. It would be cheaper for you to pay out of pocket to see me than to go through your insurance company. I will give you value.


  1. “3. Determine how to effectively reach that target market”


You’re reading the first way that I am answering this question. I just realized that I have reached over 900 “visits” over the previous 4 months. Officially, this blog now reaches more people than I can care for in the clinic. This is my start of marketing myself and my knowledge to others. Whether you choose to come see me or not, you will be better after having read the blog.


Quotes from:


Clinton SC. OVERCOMING MARKETING OBSTACLES: A cash-based practice perspective. IMPACT. April 2016: 52-56.



Author: Dr. Vince Gutierrez, PT, cert. MDT

After having dedicated 8 years to growing my knowledge regarding the profession of physical therapy, it seems only fitting that I join the social media world in order to spread a little of the knowledge that I have gained over the years. This by no means is meant to act in place of a one-one medical consultation, but only to supplement your baseline knowledge in which to choose a practitioner for your problem. Having completed a Master of Physical Therapy degree, the MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy) certification and currently finishing a post-graduate doctorate degree, I have spent the previous 12 years in some sort of post-baccalalaureate study. Hopefully the reader finds the information insightful and uses the information in order to make more informed healthcare decisions. MISSION STATEMENT: My personal mission statement is as follows: As a professional, I will provide a thorough assessment of your clinical presentation and symptoms in order to determine both the provocative and relieving positions and movements. The assessment process and ensuing treatment will be based on current and relevant evidence. Furthermore, I will educate the patients regarding their symptoms and their likelihood of improving with either skilled therapy, an independent exercise program, spontaneous recovery or if the patient should be referred to a separate specialist to possibly provide a more rapid resolution of symptoms. Respecting the patient’s limited resources is important and I will provide an accurate overview of the prognosis within 7 visits, again based on current research. My goal is to empower the patient in order to take charge of both the symptomatic resolution and return to full function with as little dependence on the therapist as possible. Personally, I strive to be an example for family and friends. My goal is to demonstrate that success is not a byproduct of situations, but a series of choices and actions. I will mentor those, in any way possible, that are having difficulty with the choices and actions for success. I will continue to honor my family’s “blue-collar” roots by working to excel at my chosen career and life situations. I choose to be a leader of example, and not words, all the while reducing negativity in my life. I began working towards the professional aspect of the mission statement while still in physical therapy school. By choosing an internship that emphasized patient care and empowering the patient, instead of the internship that was either closest to home or where I knew that I would have the easiest road to graduation, I took the first step towards learning how to utilize the evidence to teach patients how to reduce their symptoms. I continued this process by completing Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy courses A-D and passing the credentialing exam. I will continue to pursue my clinical education through CEU’s on MDT and my goal is to obtain the status of Diplomat of MDT. Returning back to school for the t-DPT was a major decision for me, as resources (i.e. time and money) are limited. My choice was between saving money for the Dip MDT course (about 15,000 dollars) and continuing on with the Fellowship of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) (about 5,000 dollars), as these courses are paired through the MDT curriculum or returning to school to work towards a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I initially planned on saving for the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT, but life changes forced me to re-evaluate my situation. The decision then changed to return for the tDPT, as my employer paid for a portion of the DPT program. My goal for applying to and finishing the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT is 10 years. This is how long I anticipate that it will take to finish paying student loans and save for both programs, based on the current rate of payment. I don’t know if I will ever accomplish what I set forth in the mission statement, but I do know that it will be a forever struggle to maintain this standard that I set for myself.

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