Modern Manual Therapy Blog

What do mindset, mentors, and Twitter have in common? They are three of the keys to success as highlighted by our latest guest during his interview with Jerry Durham, #freshPT and new #PTbiz owner, Dr. Mitch Babcock, PT of Fitness Tx. (

FitnessTx is about aiding your pursuit of greater health.
Dr Mitch Babcock is a Physical Therapist and CrossFit Level I Trainer with a primary purpose of helping others pursue a greater state of health through fitness. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in exercise science, Mitch went on to receive his Doctorate in physical therapy to better understand the human movement system and help others recover from the injuries & limitations hindering their performance. With personal training experience in CrossFit, as a NPC physique competitor & in endurance events, Mitch continues to test his physical potential daily in order to better help you reach yours. 

Thanks as always,

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

As ironic as it may seem, my career “heritage” as one might call it, hails from corporate America. I’m a former rehab director/corporate manager; and, from that perspective I’ve become a part of many discussions regarding hiring, firing, talent acquisition, etc. etc. etc.
One thing that always comes up is negotiating compensation. Now, I need to qualify this with two points: (1) some organizations just have “no wiggle room” due to their corporate structure, and, (2) organizations that can wiggle are more than happy to wiggle so long as the benefit is mutual & makes business sense.
With that….here are…!

5 Negotiation Points That Will Make Them Smile

I think the biggest killer here is that a candidate arrives at the negotiation table & comes across as in that negative the “E” word… “entitlement.” Or, “as entitled,” per the proper grammar above. It’s both generation & culture clash, when it comes to this. BUT…!
Let me lay it on the line. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Entitlement is bad attitude + no action. Excellent is good attitude + great action. There… I said it!
And, with that said, perhaps the best thing a candidate can do at the negotiations table is to NOT ask for money. Ask about VALUE. What value is being added? What value is needed or appreciated at this particular business? What *IS* valuable to this business unit? After all, negotiating pay is a basic equation:
Negotiated Salary Accepted <= Break-Even Point and/or Job Market Price Point Sensibility
The candidate wants as much as possible. The employer wants to pay as reasonably low as possible.
The employer is pretty much willing to pay as much between $0/year upwards until either the break-even point or until it no longer makes marketplace sense as they could otherwise fill that same labor void with “cheaper” alternatives (ie. another candidate).
And, the candidate is more likely to walk on a deal if they have better offers elsewhere or thinks they can get a better offer elsewhere… which they are quickly discovering exist in plenty.
So… instead of demanding more money. Offer more value, ASK the prospective employer their thoughts on a proposed exchange of value in the most respectful manner possible.
How??? By killing a pain, making a gain, or getting the job done. This leads us to…!
One of the biggest pains in all of healthcare is scheduling and/or staffing. If you want to add value right away, kill one of these pain points that are all too common in healthcare. Offer to take on shifts that no one wants. Offer to be a weekend regular.
It’s all fair trade for a bump in pay as this will not only eliminate a direct headache for management, it’ll also decrease any likelihood of blow back from lead sources, referral sources, or any associated departments that rely upon the physical therapy team being properly staffed.
Whatever the case, if you can eliminate a pain point, you will not only make them smile… you’ll get them to say “Yes” to more competitive compensation package as well.
Whether it’s a new service line, a new program, or capturing opportunities left untapped… making a gain means you’re adding value. And, if you’re adding value, then justifying higher pay for a new hire employee will not be a difficult sell to middle and upper management.
Gain makers, while less smiley than pain killers, is still a very powerful negotiations platform. AND, it serves to actually grow business units rather than merely remove costs… the more common result of “pain killers.”
Ultimately, business that thrive learn to “win more”… rather than “lose less.”
Ultimately, you need the person across the table to like you, hire you, and pay you more — or, at the very least, something equitable & competitive to the job market. To make that into a reality, you need to fill the needs and desires that THEY have in mind. What are they trying to achieve? Do they want their business to grow? Do they have redundancies to kill? Are they in need of certain focus points of clinical excellence? Perhaps they wish to develop a legacy strategy for their practice.
Whatever it may be… you’ve got to ASK them about it. It’s not just a strategy. It’s a genuine way of demonstrating that you actually care about this opportunity. If you care enough, then they will care enough to consider you as a good teammate to have.
Automation is a big deal these days, because… automation insinuates efficiency and cost savings. Now, while this is generally true, businesses need to make sure they automate the right things. THIS, is where you can provide value as a prospective candidate.
Automating the wrong thing is terribly costly. Automating the right thing is very advantageous.
Do your research before you go into the interview. Check out their digital footprint, scout out their intake process, scan for opportunities where technology can make their business operations just that much more efficient. The solution could be as simple as an email auto-responses or online scheduling requests. Whatever the case may be, by doing your homework and presenting them an additional point of discussion, you are communicating that you are invested… you already “in” per your mindset. And, you are willing to go above and beyond “the job.” You, want to add value on levels beyond that of warm body with a license to bill.
AND… most importantly, their response to the topic will let you know if they are a good match for you as an employer. If they are a strong match, you’ll get some pretty positive and impressed responses that you are that invested, so early in the application process and even in the company… just as a candidate. #SmilesAllAround
If not… well, that’s why it is called a job market. Move on. Keep shopping!
A Special Message For Employers
When we launched, UpDoc Media set out to bring “The Content You NEED To Know, Delivered With Clinical Precision.” Of our viral pre-launch content pieces, such as our PT Job Market Outlook of 2015 (2.0), was one of our biggest website crashers (Yes, those of you who viewed it… you crashed our website, LOL)… as well as our current efforts with the PT Job Market Pulse.
As the job market and healthcare market evolves moving into 2020, both employers and employees will need to be each other’s champions.
The game has changed. It’s no longer sustainable nor beneficial to have a “versus” mentality. Employer vs. employee. Provider vs. patient.
Everything is part of an ecosystem.
Strong employee cultures will lead to strong company values and deliverable excellence in service. This will in turn, attract future talent to sustain and grow this pattern. In the same vein, strong operational profits allows for the margins required to hire top talent… and, so the wheel continues to spin.
We have a passion to help our fellow PTs win.
To help business owners, corporate managers, employers all across our industry, and anyone in physical therapy wanting to cultivate a business oriented mindset… we created the PT Business & Entrepreneur Accelerator. It’s a free group, connecting colleagues with a growth mindset for accelerated success and mutual growth. 

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

This post was originally found at Specialist Pain Physio

As I sat and watched the last of my children’s nativity play, I paid particular attention to all the little faces staring out into the room. So many expressions shaped and re-shaped as they performed and watched others perform their parts, telling the traditional story. Then there were those who were looking out to the parents, reacting to acknowledgement and encouragement, and of course the one picking his nose and eating the sticky attachment to his finger. So many faces telling so many stories that collectively gave us the experience of the nativity. Imagine the same play but without any faces. It’s unimaginable as faces are such a significant part of who we are to the world.

We face the world, we face each other, we face off, we pull a face; ‘let’s face it’, you may say to someone. There is a purpose to having a face (including nasal excavation!), which is about recognition, bonding with others and survival. These are all basic aspects of being human and therefore when something goes wrong, it heavily impacts upon the person. One of the most dramatic problems is facial dystonia, within which I include temporomandibular (jaw) dystonia, when the facial muscles are contracting uncontrollably and involuntarily. This form of dystonia has far reaching effects upon recognition, bonding (connectedness) and survival mechanisms as I shall explore. Suffice to say that we are talking about great suffering endured as a result of this condition.

Before describing how dystonia affects these dimensions, I outline my thinking with regards to the purpose of a face. Clearly there is great importance that is supported by the significant representation of the face that resides in the sensorimotor cortex forming part of the so-called homonculus. Our distinct features are recognised by others to identify ‘me’ but I also have a sense of how I look according to those features. My face plays a role in how I meet people and engage with them to form bonds. This is a vital part of our existence, with connectedness playing a role in health and survival as we create communities for mutual benefit. We also bond more intimately, our face and ‘looks’ holding some sway along with how we use the communication functions of the face: verbal and non-verbal. We can gather information about a person by their expression. The person also gathers information about themselves via their felt expression, and indeed can change mood by forcing a new facial position that is predicted to mean something new. For example, if we force a smile, our brain predicts that the most likely cause of the sensory information (from the muscles, joints etc) is happiness, and therefore we feel a sense of joy. The facial role in survival includes breathing, eating and drinking, all specialised and precise activities that are essential.

So what happens when things go wrong?

Aside from dystonia, what else ‘changes’ the face with a consequential impact? I would include conditions such as acne, eczema, facial pain (e.g. trigeminal neuralgia), dental problems, eye complaints (infection, squint, lazy eye, blepharospasm, and other issues that distort the normal or expected configuration and placement of facial features. The Maggie Thatcher Illusion was reported by Professor Peter Thompson in 1980, demonstrating the importance of faces. Both hands and faces have a large representation in the brain, perhaps indicating their significance in our on-going existence. The recent book by Darian Leader, well worth reading, made a study of hands: Hands: What We Do with Them – and Why. The importance of faces and hands then, will amplify the effect when something is deemed to be wrong. Consider the loss of a hand by amputation, and the subsequent feel of what it is like in the frequent case of phantom limb sensations, which can include pain, or the way in which a hand and the digits are experienced following immobilisation.


Those that know us will always recognise us because of familiarity and because their brains (we are more than a brain but for ease I will use the term) make a prediction based on prior knowledge. They simply see ‘me’. However, my sense of self in part is determined by how I feel physically. What does my body feel like? What it is like to be me is more than just the physical sensation as the moment is filled with perception, cognition (thinking) and action. The three are unified into this ‘what it feels like to be me’. With a distortion or a sense that something is not right or how I want it to be, there is a mismatch that creates discomfort, rumination, and suffering to a varying degree. We can sometimes say, ‘I don’t feel like myself today’, referring to different reasons as to why this may be, and in fact, perhaps we can consider therapy to be a way to restore a sense of self. Not how I used to be as we cannot reverse time, but gain a sense of who I am, my authentic self. Movement is part of who I am as demonstrated by the way we recognise someone by their walk or other mannerisms. When we are in flow, these mannerisms occur without thought. As soon as we consciously attend to something that we would not normally think about, it can change. The yips in golf is an example as is the way some people find it hard initially to focus on their breathing when practicing mindfulness.

So, when my face changes, or I perceive a change, then I can feel somehow different from the expected or known ‘me’, which then impacts upon how I engage with the world. Self-consciousness is a commonly described, causing a withdrawal from society. Feeding this can be self-criticism and a sense of shame (a concern about losing connections), which both need addressing as these feelings bring about on-going self-protection that includes the way we move. The emotional centres of the brain communicate enormously with the basal ganglia that has such a role in movement disorders. I am not surprised by recent findings in relation to the gut and Parkinson’s disease as the way we feel, the gut, our overall health are so inextricably entwined. A change in gut flora and emotions come hand in hand and with the way in which our emotional state affects the way we move and interact with the world, hence we need to consider the whole person.

Facial expressions are part of who we are and how we communicate with others. When this changes, and usually an enforced change at that, how we recognise ourselves shifts. People who know the person will continue to know them in that ever-evolving way, and those who do not know the person must look beyond the condition and the way it presents to see the whole. As a society we have an obligation to think about the whole individual as they are not defined by any condition or behaviour.


We are designed, so it seems, to be connected with others and form communities within which we support each other, care about each other and share experiences. Initial meetings arise for all sorts of reasons but in essence when we come together, we look at each other and learn about the features of that person via their posturing as well as the physical characteristics. Implicitly we will be attracted to some people and less so to others. These natural biases we can overcome as we mature and learn about the essence of people.

To bond we would often spend time with someone and talk so that we can learn about each other. The act of speaking is incredibly complex, involving many movements that allow us to form words and make noises. With the involuntary movements of dystonia this can be extremely challenging. This can become even more the case when talking to strangers, to the extent that it may cause the person to avoid doing so. This is one of the areas that we work upon in the training programme both in terms of the formation of words (sensorimotor exercises) and increasing confidence to go and speak to people.

There is a challenge to bonding in some instances. It means being vulnerable and taking a risk as you put your authentic self out there. This is of course how we gain the reward although sometimes it does not work out and we can learn once the feelings of disappointment subside. Developing our sense of worthiness is important under these circumstances, and perhaps even more so with the additional burden of dystonia. As with chronic pain, it is not just about doing some exercises to get better, instead a ‘whole’ approach that addresses all dimensions of the lived experience ~ e.g./ understanding, thinking clearly, developing confidence and resilience. All of these skills can be practiced as ‘skills of well being’.


On a simple level, to survive we must breathe and we must eat and drink. These acts can be somewhat complicated when facial dystonia affects how the mouth is controlled and in some cases taking a simple breath in through the nose can be more difficult. This is not to say that the person cannot breathe! The involuntary movements can be distracting and impact upon how the person actually takes a breath in through their nose or mouth. If they have a cold, then this can be exacerbated.

Choice of food can be narrowed as chewing is especially difficult. Chewing is a skill, which requires precision of movement but also with how much pressure to apply via the jaw and manipulating the food with the tongue. Again, like any skill, this can be practiced as part of a training programme to improve the efficiency, economy and precision. One of the reasons that dystonia can be muscularly painful is because of the overworking muscles. This also results in tension and stiffness described. Muscles are working when they do not need to and when they do need to, they are working too much. There is a circular causality to this feature, similarly in chronic pain when the muscles are being ‘told’ by the higher centres to protect the area. This loop continues until a new (active) inference is made with new information (understanding your condition and how it presents or emerges in you) and actions purposely made with the intent of change in a new direction.

With the self-protect system functioning as a result of the threat of the situation, and this is both conscious and sub-conscious, added to by self-criticism and a lack of self-worth that can be evident, there is a state of ‘freeze or fright or flight’ at play. This involves being prepared to run away or fight or express some kind of communication via the face and mouth: shouting, bearing teeth etc. These are very basic instincts and behaviours at play; the so-called old-brain. The self-protect system plays a vital role in our survival but only in short bursts. When there is a persistent state of protect going on, then our health and we suffer in a number of ways. However, there are a number of simple practices that again I would term the skills of well being, which we can adopt each day to gain healthy benefits. This is in essence the antidote to protect and by being able to gain insight into how we think and act, we can use this awareness to learn to regulate our emotions, make choices with clarity, reappraise situations and thoughts and maintain a focus on what we can do to feel well, healthy and live a meaningful life.

This blog merely touches on many areas that are relevant to dystonia, chronic pain and some of the important roles of a face. Why do we need a face? We have looked at several important reasons and made relevant to dystonia. There are different and unique causes of suffering endured by people with facial dystonia that we identify and work on transforming with specific training but within a context of understanding and compassion that is at the heart of what we do.
For further information about the complete training programme for dystonia, please complete the following form:

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

7 Ways To Power Up 2017

1. Jump On Another Social Media Outlet
If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to be convinced that social media is simply the millennial way of connecting with the people that matter to us… and/or, the ones we enjoy getting in heated debates with 😛
Whatever the case and however you like to use these platforms, let me encourage you to jump on another social media outlet that you have yet to join or fully utilized. For me, I just got on Instagram “professionally,” this month. Why? Because, I wanted to challenge myself. I love Snapchat and I love videos; however, I’m not the greatest when it comes to image capturing and graphics. So! Whether you have yet to join one, or if you are already on ALL of them, my challenge is this: Choose the one you least like, and, see if you can make it your new champion in 2017!
PS. I keep telling clinic owners & business managers: SNAPCHAT. You’ve gotta get on it!
2. Practice Live Streaming
As I mentioned in my blog post The Future of Digital Marketing, consumers want to be able to experience and engage with your brand — to become part of the story. What better way to be engaging and inclusive than live streaming? Live streaming is available through nearly every social platform and is even available via YouTube. Presently, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter a la Periscope have live video streaming capabilities.
Now, don’t expect to feel comfortable with all the dynamics all at once. There’s a lot to take in, at first. There’s the functionality of the stream itself, people making comments and reactions live (or, slightly laggy), dealing with the trolls, seeing yourself on screen while trying to focus on the actual camera so that you’re looking at your audience…. Yup. Get on it!
3. Ask Your Audience
Everyone has an audience. It doesn’t matter if they are big, small, or any other variety. What matters most is engagement. This is a lesson that professionals from all walks need to be reminded of. Having had the pleasure to work with professionals throughout the spectrum, it’s not just a healthcare thing that licensed providers tend to obsess over what THEY feel is interesting rather than what their CONSUMERS clamor for.
Really charge up that 2017 drive by being open to what they — your audience — want. What are their desires, their interests, their expectations? Focus delivering to those preferences and doing so consistently. Which leads us to…!
4. Commit To Consistency
You’ve heard me say it before: “Content is King. Marketing is Queen. Consistency is Key!” It’s all about consistency. When engaging an audience, when improving yourself, when growing a business, when acquiring skill sets, when striving for excellence — CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
For 2017, commit to consistency — not to everything, to ONE thing. Make 2017 the year that you are consistent with the ONE THING you’ve always wanted yourself to be… and, make it yours!
5. Try A New Marketing Channel
Marketing is so much more than the elements that comprise it. Marketing, is creating demand. It’s not just sales, promotions, pricing, advertisements, inbound, outbound, boosted, organic, search, social, direct, discovery, etc. etc. etc.
Regardless of if you own a business, want to own a business, are a business manager, are an employee, or are a student… make 2017 a powerful year for you through expanding your marketing channels.
Ultimately, whether you are growing your personal brand (job market marketing, #PTJobMarketPulse), growing caseloads for your clinic (marketing), creating sales funnels for a new invention you have (marketing)… whatever the case, try it in a new way through a new channel. If you are currently doing great in social media, try advertisements. If you are doing wonderful in word-of-mouth, try expanding to email marketing or direct messaging. If you are strong in content marketing, try some outbound strategies.
Expand your engagement! Make 2017 about adding something NEW as the new best version of yourself. This leads us to…!
6. Do Something Outside Of Yourself
“If you’re not growing, you’re regressing.”
This is a maxim I picked up in my teen years and I’ve always held to it. Just for fun, in 2017, challenge yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone, outside of your norm, outside of your interests, outside of your desires. Whatever it may be: public speaking, completing a 5k, taking up a form of exercise you intrinsically have distain for, swimming, running, writing, podcasting, blogging… jumping on social media, perhaps?
Even acting! I’ll tell you this, of all my coursework in undergrad, Acting 1 was perhaps the most fun and most insightful experience as it pertains to the quality of my current career path.
7. Go To A Conference
There are all sorts of conferences, all the time. There are tech cons, comic cons, healthcare cons… it doesn’t have to be specifically related to your profession, per se. Whichever you decide — Go! Conferences are a great way to explore what you don’t know, connect with strangers who automatically feel like life long friends, and to immerse yourself with infectious passion, interest, and drive to become more.
And, besides… it’s a great excuse to go travel, explore, and meet new people!

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

Download file | Play in new window | Size: 54.22M

"Exercise is not something we integrate. It's something we do."

"It all starts with understanding the body of evidence."

"Once you understand the question, the answer makes sense."

"I only attract pretty fish."

"Nothing really matters. Unless it does."
Ther-ex database as mentioned in the episode:


About Scot from Morrison is a board certified physical therapist and strength coach who started his undergrad career as an engineering major. He quickly realized that he was spending all his free time researching human performance and moved on to Exercise Science while also training clients at the university fitness center. After graduating with honors in 2008 Scot began working for a hospital based medical fitness center in south Florida where he was involved in the development and implementation of a variety of programs with a focus on childhood obesity, Parkinson’s, Cardiac rehab, and corporate health. During this time he also resumed his schooling and graduated with honors from the University of St. Augustine as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.  As part of his DPT Scot completed advanced manual therapy training which he has continued since graduation with a focus on the approaches of the Maitlaind-Australian and McKenzie groups. Scot is a Titleist Certified golf fitness coach and a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is very active in his professional bodies and is an occasional co-host of the popular podcast PT Inquest.
Scot currently works as the head of medical services for the MLS Professional Referee Organization. He also treats local athletes at Black Diamond Physical Therapy and runs a concierge private practice.


I believe that every patient is unique. I believe that a system based on sound principles will trump a collection of methods. I am not quite sure that all we can change matters or that what matters can always be changed. I think perturbing the system, as long as adaptation is positive, is a good thing.

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

The next MMT webinar is scheduled! Mark your calendars for Wed Jan 25, 8:30 pm EST for Teaching the Squat and Deadlift in Clinical Practice with my good friend, Dr. Michael Mash, DPT.

What you will learn

  • How body anthropometrics and bar placement affects barbell squat technique
  • How to choose the optimal squat variation based on mobility demands and injury history 
  • How to coach the barbell deadlift utilizing simple cues to maximize body mechanics
  • How to properly prescribe the deadlift and its variations in clinical practice based on patient presentation
As always, replays will be available for 1 week after the webinar and then only for MMT Premium members. After each webinar, a registrant is also picked to win a LIFETIME membership to MMT Premium saving hundreds of dollars!

Hope to see you there!

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

I recently saw a young high level female gymnast with history of recurrent left knee pain. Her symptoms began at a growth spurt 4 years ago. Her symptoms were felt around her patella and left fibular head with landing, running, and most closed chain activities.

They normally resolve with self treatment which consisted of hamstring stretching and rolling out her quads and hamstrings with a massage stick. 

Like most gymnasts hamstring mobility was not an issue. In fact, on her painful side she had about 140 PSLR compared to 120 on the right. She laughed about that one. Initially, my first thought was to Stop Thought Viruses and educate her that her left leg wasn't longer or older than her right - so it wasn't just growth. I did so and she understood, taking some mental threat away from her leg.


After starting the physical exam, I noticed
  • her left tibia had a bit more torsion than her right
  • reflected in some single leg squat (and double leg) testing
  • significant loss of tibial IR on the left compared to right
  • loss of ankle df on the left compared to right
Check out the video below

Management consisted of

  • functional tibial IR mobilization with EDGE Mobility Band 
    • started in double leg squat progressed to single leg
  • functional (WB) ankle mobilizations in half kneel
  • instruction on self tibial IR mobilization in half knee - 5-6 times daily and as part of her warm up
  • instruction on single leg squat with correct knee tracking in a mirror

After 2 days, she texted me stating her knee pain was nearly gone and she was able to perform all of her events without limitation. On day 2, we focused on side planks and super clams for trunk stability and I plan on progressing her stability exercises and adding farmer's carries as well.

So in this case, structure may have mattered because it caused faulty patterns that added up after years of running/landing with some increased stress on her left knee. However, restoring mobility where possible and motor control of landing, plus ability to accept load threat free restored function pretty quickly (quicker than I thought it would).

Want an approach that enhances your existing evaluation and treatment? No commercial model gives you THE answer. You need an approach that blends the modern with the old school. Live cases, webinars, lectures, Q&A, hundreds of techniques and more! Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

We talk a lot about marketing, here at UpDoc Media. (See below…)

A lot.

And, of course, we’re typically talking about marketing in the focused framework of “marketing and physical therapy” -or- “marketing and healthcare,” at large. Despite the fact we talk about business & marketing all the time, it’s still a worthy topic to discuss.
Answer: As healthcare continues to evolve and becomes more consumer oriented & marketplace driven, the economic forces at work will ultimately fashion an environment where creating demand will be the key in sustainable business growth versus that of depending on referral sources. We are already seeing massive hints of this as huge practices with dozens of clinics have been reaching out for solutions in business growth as their referral channels have seemingly depleted. So, with that: Let’s take a fresh look at what 2017 has in store for Physical Therapy marketing!

Marketing for Physical Therapy in 2017

Over the last several years, digital marketing has been a massive battleground for generating leads, capturing contacts, segmenting audiences, and developing out a sales funnel with high conversion rates. While this will continue to be a pattern of practice in marketing for the coming couple of years, the battlegrounds are already shifting toward branding. And, we’re not the only ones that are saying so… Gary Vaynerchuk agrees.
So, why is it “all of a sudden” changing? Technology.
Well, it’s not. And, it is. The fact is: All the platforms we use on a daily basis; be it social media, search engines, or our mobile device… they all track our digital movements, interests, shopping patterns. Creepy? A little bit. But, what you’re probably noticing more is the convenience.
As such, these platforms have heavily shifted their algorithms away from the strategic and technical approaches; they’ve focused, now, upon the user experience. Everything that the user does, the browsing behaviors and social engagements… are ultimately converted to data mining algorithms which identify the brands as well as the product & service types you’ve been looking at/for.
And, which brands will you likely gravitate toward? The brands you know. The brands you trust.
Big budget productions are starting to lose traction en masse. Spending four, five… or even six figures on print ads, mailers, billboards, television and radio plugs… yeah, that game is all but over — that is, unless you area huge brand with a massive marketing budget, gunning to stave off competition via offensive marketing strategies (perhaps, a blogpost to come 😉 … or, just join our PT Business & Entrepreneur Accelerator and watch the replay of the topic, already hashed out).
Micro productions are not only more affordable, they are more consistent. AND, of course, consistency is key. Good content in the form of documentaries, exercise series, testimonials, and even live video streaming, will become the new brand currencies for 2017. While a certain level of raw production will be appreciated for its authenticity, engaging campaigns will be comprised of both raw presentations as well as professionally polished productions in order to successfully elevate brand positioning within the mind of the consumer.
The key factor in the success or failure of micro productions will not only depend on the wider scope of branding, it will depend on the careful art of storytelling -NOT- the art of convincing, be it via credentialing, special clinical focus, outcomes, satisfaction scores, or otherwise.
Stats’ are stale. Stories build trust.
It’s already happening… patients are scheduling via email, inquiring for appointment times on messaging apps, and straight up responding to Snapchat stories. Direct messaging, be it via Facebook, SMS, or any other platform will become the new norm by the end of the year. I mean… it’s already happening now.
For 2017, you best get the staff responsible (be it, receptionists, office managers, or actual marketers) for managing patient contact and customer relationships to get all over messaging platforms… Every. Single. One.
SMS marketing via the general use mobile device is already a huge hit within the retail market. Health systems are using mobile updates. Therefore, it is only a matter of time that being engaging, personable, effective in communication & efficient in time, will be a new, “new normal” within business administration competency.
Your website is your first and primary digital footprint. It remains the single platform you have 100% control over. Sure, social media outlets, business listings, and even search engine ranking is all well and good (and, 100% necessary). However, as much as those are wonderful… should they change or go out of business/style, your company gets the short end of that stick.
In fact, there are already grumblings made by many business types that heavily rely upon everything other than a strong website. And, when I mean “strong website”… I don’t just mean it looks and feels good. While that is a major, major part of it… by “strong” I mean strong in design, in user experience, in content, in searchable discovery, and as the central core of what holds your digital footprint together.
By the way, if you’re looking for a place to start in auditing the quality of your website, you may find our blog post “5 Website Flaws That Are Killing Your Clinic” as a helpful start.
As important as it is to generate new patient demand, there is a singular business struggle that has been identified within physical therapy business: Talent. Finding, attracting, and retaining good talent has been repeatedly identified, for the last 2-3 years, as the largest struggle in keeping physical therapy business’ healthy.
This is both a cause of the fact that millennial professionals are becoming the majority of the workforce. This is also a cause of the forces of economics; as demand for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have come to an all time high, not likely to let up soon… it  is leaving in its wake, far more PT jobs available than there are PTs to fill them.
So, what attracts talent? Glad you asked, because here is our talent acquisition report from 2016.
Beyond that, what talent seeks and “shops out in an employer” is done in the same fashion that prospect patients shops out their healthcare provider. Good talent seeks out your brand, your website, your social media outlets… and, comprehensively reviews you as an option of employment. If they don’t like what they see, they will not likely apply… much less accept an interview.
Crazy? Entitlement mindset? Backwards??? No. Economics.
If you want top talent, you MUST have the right digital footprints to attract them… and, the right brand story that cultivates trust.

At UpDoc Media, all of our co-founders are Physical Therapists. Our essence and very purpose is to help physical therapists win; to serve as accelerators of success. If anything in this blog posts strikes interest, please let me know!
Until Next Time,

-Ben Fung, DPT, MBA

Co-Founder, COO, UpDoc Media
Twitter: @DrBenFung
Snapchat: DrBenFung

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