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Building Therapeutic Alliance in the Patient Evaluation

presented by Craig Phifer, PT, MHA

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Craig Phifer is the owner/CEO of Rehabilitation and Performance Institute and the owner/business coach with Private Practice Rebellion. He receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Craig Phifer is an assistant managing editor for Impact Magazine and lecturer at the University of Evansville. He has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 54 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 24 Minutes

The biggest outcome issue in physical therapy is that most patients drop out of care, and little content has been directed toward this significant issue. The most important visit for establishing trust and reducing patient drop-off is the initial evaluation. Through this intermediate-level course, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers will improve their understanding of patients and their communication with them. As a result, they will see fewer drop-offs and improved clinical results. In a larger scope, this content will improve the patient experience across the industry and drive improvements in outcomes, reputation, and payment.

Meet Your Instructor

Craig Phifer, PT, MHA

Craig is an owner and the CEO of Rehabilitation & Performance Institute, a private practice with offices in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Craig believes that high-quality one-on-one care, professional flexibility, and profits can all exist together. He recognizes this approach empowers both therapists and patients. As a result, he is also a founder of Private…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Getting to Know Your Patient

We set the tone for the course of care during our very first interaction with the patient. The verbal and physical cues we use either allow us to start to develop trust or create a difficult barrier to overcome during the rest of the session.

2. The Patient Examination and Providing a Treatment Diagnosis

Physical therapists spend a lot of time in training developing the ability to generate a treatment diagnosis with our patients. However, we spend very little time learning how to effectively communicate information to our patients. The latter skill is incredibly important, and patients often expect significantly more from our communication than they receive.

3. Providing Treatment in the Initial Visit

There are many treatment options physical therapists can utilize that have similar effects. Learning how to elicit specific patient expectations and preferences is a valuable skill that can help improve patient outcomes.

4. Closing the Session

The end of the initial evaluation is one of the most memorable aspects of care for our patients, and how we perform in that portion of the session can determine how effective our care will be and how likely our patients are to drop off. The “30-second close” is an effective strategy for communicating effectively with your patients and ensuring that they’ve had a positive experience.

5. Team Strategies for Therapeutic Alliance

In a perfect healthcare environment, we would always be able to have one provider working with the same patient throughout the entire course of care. However, that’s not always reality. Knowing how to communicate, not only within a team of providers but also as a member of each patient’s team, will be important to the success you achieve in building relationships and improving therapeutic alliance.

6. Measuring Therapeutic Alliance, and Strategies to Improve

The ability to develop therapeutic alliance with our patients may be the most valuable skill a clinician can have. Therefore, it is imperative that we not only measure how effective we are at developing therapeutic alliance but also make it part of our discussions that we have in mentoring and training.

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