Pitching a Therapy-Specific EMR

As Steven Pressfield would say, you’ve done the work. You’ve followed your dream, finished graduate school, and now you’re a fantastic practicing rehab therapist. What’s next? How do you bring your clinic to the next level? You take it into the 21st century, and that means going digital with your documentation.

We’ve already talked about all the benefits of EMR implementation. So let’s assume you’ve read the writing on the wall: Digitally documenting with a rehab therapy-specific EMR just makes more sense than charting on paper—for your practice, your patients, and your sanity. Today, I want to talk about getting buy-in because whether you’re the clinic director, the PT appointed to do the EMR shopping, or simply a rehab therapist ready to blaze the EMR trail, you can’t go digital without everyone you work with being on board.

Personalize the Perks
Of course, the EMR you’re considering has a robust list of fantastic features—everything from intuitive initial examinations and professional finalized notes to a color-coded front office scheduler and helpful compliance reminders and reports. But no one wants to hear a barrage of benefits (read: zzz) when only a few of them really matter. Understand your clinic’s pain points first, and then personalize the perks for your audience.

Does the front office staff spend most of their time chasing down patients to remind them of their upcoming appointments? Bring up automatic appointment reminders, which can significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations, so staff can focus on more pertinent items.

Is the clinic director concerned about missing revenue as a result of low referral rates? Point out the referral tracking report, which will allow him or her to see which physicians are frequently referring his or her clinic’s services and which ones may need some more attention.

In short, create an emotional connection by showing how an EMR can solve a real problem within the practice and you’ll score a major ally. And speaking of allies, consider identifying an additional EMR champion (perhaps one who’s tech savvy if you aren’t) to help you advocate and educate fellow therapists and staff. There’s power in numbers, after all.

Don’t Oversell
This might be the most important tip: stick to the facts. Sure, the right EMR will benefit your clinic in more ways than you can probably imagine right now, but it won’t do you or the team any good to oversell. Be honest—about the pros and the cons. There may very well be an adjustment period and a learning curve. And your EMR definitely won’t do your entire job for you—but it can help you navigate the murky waters of PQRS compliance and functional limitation reporting.

Find the Person with the Answers
In your conversations, you’re bound to field a few questions that you just can’t answer. And that’s fine, as long as you can facilitate a meeting with someone who can. Want to score some serious buy-in? Include the team in an online demonstration so they can take the product for a spin and ask the vendor rep all their questions. Not only will you all get the answers you need—and your potential EMR will prove their worth—but the team will appreciate being a part of the buying process.

Even following these how-to tips, you might still experience some push back and even a few more objections. But that’s okay—it’s actually normal. Transitioning to an EMR can be quite the change, and for some, that’s scary. Be patient and understanding in your discussions. Truly listen to their reasoning and make sure that as you overcome their objections, you always focus on their needs.

Been through the pitching process? What techniques were most effective? Share your experiences below.

About the Author

Heidi Jannenga, PT, MPT, ATC/L
Heidi was a scholarship athlete at the University of California, Davis. Following a knee injury and subsequent successful rehabilitation, Heidi developed a passion for physical therapy. She started her 16-year physical therapy career after graduating with her Masters from the Institute of Physical Therapy in St. Augustine, Florida.

In 2008, Heidi and her husband Brad launched WebPT, the leading web-based Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and comprehensive practice management service for physical therapists. As the company’s COO, Heidi is responsible for product development/management, billing services, and customer support.

She now resides in Phoenix with Brad and their daughter Ava.