Simple solutions to complex journeys
“Every referral we receive makes it into LeadingReach. We don’t even put it into our practice management, until we’ve fleshed it out through LeadingReach.”
Michael Lopez, Managing Director
While traumatic events—suffering a stroke, a cancer diagnosis, car accidents—alter lives in mere seconds, the road to recovery is often a years-long journey.
For many of the patients referred to SFS Therapies, an adult-focused, speech-pathology practice serving the Las Vegas metro area, rediscovering their ability to communicate is a key step along that path.
“Speech therapy [for a child learning to speak] is a lot different than being a 60 or 65 year old person, who has had the ability to swallow correctly and speak their entire life then all of a sudden lost their ability. The drive and motivation to get well is entirely different,” Michael Lopez, managing director of SFS Therapies said. “A lot of frustration for someone that can communicate their entire life and then all of a sudden can’t. That sucks.”
To reduce patient frustration, SFS Therapies found solutions to improve their referral management process, strengthen their own communication skills and streamline their practice’s bottlenecks to better help more patients—all with the help of LeadingReach.
A cutting-edge practice, SFS Therapies serves their adult patients with unique services including mobile evaluations and mobile therapy. Having built their growing practice, which now includes 6 practitioners, on a strong foundation of solid software tools, Lopez is able to focus on optimizing their process to better serve the specific needs of adult speech-therapy patients.
But the Rube-Goldberg machine Lopez patched together to manage referrals—their practice management software fused together with multiple CRMs and a deck full of customized Excel- powered pivot tables—was clunky and painful to operate.
“We are a specialist, and our practice management software is set to refer out, not to refer in. So we were always rigging it to try to fit our specific dynamic,” Lopez said. “There was a lot of backwards engineering and reconfiguring how the software interprets our stuff, and even so the status reports were at best clumsy.”
Because each patient’s need and story is unique, SFS’s practitioners receive referrals from general practitioners as well as a diverse spectrum of specialists. For an innovative, focused and growing group, wrestling the data into a somewhat useful form of insight to improve and innovate for the benefit of patients was a constant struggle.
“It would take a week to prepare for our monthly meetings, for all the department heads, to make sure you have the right data, and that everyone is pulling from the same place. To keep apples-to-apple comparisons was always a headache,” Lopez said.
For a data-driven practice, the lack of clear insights was frustrating and held their practice back from discovering valuable improvements.
“We had some rough reports that gave us some visibility, but for us to determine how many days our referrals sat in each status bucket was not possible,” Lopez said.
It wasn’t until Lopez needed therapy of his own to discover the solution for his practices’ referral management woes.
“It fell in our lap. We had a physical therapy place moved downstairs from our office, and I had to go to PT, and there at the bottom of their welcome email was LeadingReach,” Lopez said.
“It would take a week to prepare for our monthly meetings, for all the department heads, to make sure you have the right data, and that everyone is pulling from the same place.”
Always observing and listening, Lopez was impressed with their new neighbors referral onboarding process. “I got the email, and I thought this is pretty slick.,” Lopez remembers his first encounter with LeadingReach.
But soon he discovered that LeadingReach was more than a slick way to on board new patients and simply share pre-appointment materials, as it became apparent that the software was flexible and powerful enough to own their entire pre-appointment process.
“Every referral we receive makes it into LeadingReach. We don’t even put it into our practice management, until we’ve fleshed it out through LeadingReach. It is a great pre-evaluation software.”
With a purpose-built referral management platform Lopez discovered just how quick and easy it would be to power every aspect of their unique double-conversion, patient-centric process— creating custom statues to match each step of their patient’s journey.
“We were able to create a completely new process. We changed our onboarding process for both working referrals, evaluation booking and therapy follow up too,” Lopez said. “We looked at our statuses, added several new ones to get a better understanding of what the bottlenecks might be. We did a good job on the front end of finding out what was important to us, and now we track it all.”
Customized and optimized, Lopez’s team is now thriving on LeadingReach. What was once a painful task of creating a new referral into their practice management system is now a simple, quick effort where new referrals find their way into LeadingReach within 90 seconds— empowering the team to establish and track a new goal of reacting to each and every referral within the very first hour of it being received.
“The combined platform of CRM with referral management is a huge benefit to us,” Lopez said. “We have loaded up with a ton of education and resources, and use the pre-appointment messaging all day long.”
By creating automated tasks and programming their entire pre-appointment journeys, the outreach team is unlocking more power and discovering better results.
“The ability to automate tasks has been a huge boon for all of us. Now it [LeadingReach] fits right in,” Lopez said.
After putting in the effort to customize every aspect of LeadingReach to fit their practice, SFS Therapies reaps the rewards of any team member being able to instantly see exactly where any patient is in the process, or find the most impactful effort they can take that very moment.
“Everybody really loves the ability to filter, so they can see in a hot second who needs what and when,” Lopez said.
“We were able to create a completely new process. We changed our onboarding process for both working referrals, evaluation booking and therapy follow up too.”
Excited to unlock the insights and improve their referral process, Lopez and his team spent
a single Friday and a bit of Saturday setting up the platform and importing 300 referrals into LeadingReach so they could hit the ground running the next week, and less than 48 hours later they were on their way to discovering invaluable insights.
“Prior to LeadingReach, our bottlenecks were always a mystery to us. ‘Was it the first patient phone call, the second phone call, was it a patient asking us to delay services,’ that was always
a bit of a mystery to us and we never had those metrics,” Lopez said. “The dialed in metrics LeadingReach has, telling, ‘you have this many patients in this bucket for this long,’ it is night and day. Now we know it for sure. Now, we can just go into LeadingReach and see ‘look like it takes three patient phone calls before they book an appointment.’”
With the old cobbled together solution gone, Lopez and his team have thrived with LeadingReach’s “clean and fantastic” reporting features, freeing up the time spent preparing for their monthly meetings to take the “easily digestible information” and insights and work on finding and implementing solutions to improve their patients’ experience.
“The most valuable thing I see on the dashboard is the RTAs and the fact that I can change my timelines to get a better understanding of historical RTAs,” Lopez said. “That is huge to me, to understand our two RTAs. I can’t tell you how invaluable that information is for us, because it really tells us what we need to work on. LeadingReach is now driving different processes to see whether or not we can improve those metrics.”
Lopez found a “great deal of value” from a streamlined pre-appointment process, noting his team’s increased productivity and the ease of use of LeadingReach have combined to be a “huge time saver” for every aspect of their referral process.
“It’s been a game changer for us in every department,” Lopez said. “Easy to navigate. It doesn’t matter where you land, you are only a click or two away from where you need to be if you need to be somewhere else.”
“LeadingReach is now driving different processes to see whether or not we can improve those metrics.”