Steve Jobs was a famous perfectionist – often delaying the release of a product until a minor issue could be reworked, or even totally scrapping and reworking a design that didn’t feel right. A famous example is the design of the Apple retail stores. He famously delayed the initial openings several months to reorganize the layouts around activities instead of product categories.
Successful physical therapy practices are constantly working to improve the patient’s outcomes and overall experience. In order to provide consistent services efficiently, countless processes have to be accomplished behind the scenes. We should always be looking for places to improve – striving for perfection in the areas that are most important to our customers. However, we can’t be perfect at everything – down that path lies a lack of focus and likely mediocrity at everything. How do we decide where we should focus?
In Nov 2013, Larry Benz and I presented the results of a conjoint analysis of ‘what patients really want’ to well over 500 passionate attendees of the Private Practice Section annual conference. This was a University performed, privately funded study that surveyed almost 500 patients, from 3 companies with 31 outpatient facilities.
This is was patients told us they value the most in their physical therapy experience:
- The therapist is very knowledgeable.
- The instructions from the therapist were very clear.
- Appointments are on time, with a minimum wait time to see a therapist.
- All the staff is very friendly.
- A doctor recommended this clinic.
These are the things that we should strive continually to improve upon, even at the cost of not improving in other areas. Focusing on these areas with the laser-like focus and dedication that Steve Jobs exemplifies will allow us to push for perfection in the most important areas for our practice.