Part 3 (Resources): What Do I Need for Starting My Pelvic Health Practice?

Posted By: Darla Bowen Cathcart, PhD Private Practice,
In Part 1 and 2 of this 3-part series, I discussed the space and equipment needed for getting a women’s health practice started – namely, a pelvic health practice.

In this final part of the series, some resources for getting your practice started are discussed.

  1. A mentor.  Are you solo?  Find another therapist who will be willing to help answer those tough patient questions, or offer advice on your practice.  How do you find a mentor?  Hmm, that sounds like another future blog post:) . . . .

  1. Business Directory.  This guide offers a variety of potential equipment suppliers, educational opportunities, and more. This guide has the following categories:  professional continuing education; exercise videos; orthopedic products; patient education resources; maternity products and supports; pelvic floor biofeedback and estim; business planning and marketing; health organizations; and pelvic therapy products.

  1. Academy membership.  Be a member of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy and become involved in opportunities that will allow you to meet potential mentors and get plugged in to volunteer opportunities.  Additionally, receive the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy and discounts on attending continuing education courses. Learn more here.

  1. Policies and Procedures.  These are a must for your practice.  How do you develop them?  If you are at a private institution or opening your own practice, you may want to join the Private Practice Section for resources related to managing your own clinic or program.  If you are in a hospital system, you should meet with your Risk Management department early in the planning process.  As you educate this department on what your specialized training and focus are, the risk manager will be able to help formulate policies and procedures that are consistent with your organization’s needs.

  1. Vendors.  Take the time to meet with vendors who may help you with acquiring home equipment for patients, such as TENS units and home hand-held biofeedback (BFB) units.  These vendors can often be a golden resource for helping you find the right equipment for your patient and also assisting with answering questions about insurance coverage for these needs.

  1. A marketing and/or public relations expert.  This might be someone you hire, or may be training you seek out for yourself.  But a person who is comfortable with marketing and helping you develop relationships with referral sources is golden!  Consider also you may want professional help in setting up a website and social media for your clinic/program if you are in a private setting.

  1. One sold-out referral source.  It just takes one referring source to really get started.  In my practice, my very first strong referral source was a gynecologic surgeon who believed strongly in pelvic health PT.  Because of our close working relationship and my willingness to develop a relationship with him, he became my best unofficial “marketer.”  Through the years, I had many new referral sources tell me something along the lines of “Dr. Pizarro spoke so highly of you” that they had to give PT a try!

  2. Passion.  Remember why you chose this specialized niche!  In starting a pelvic health and women’s health private practice or program, you may have many frustrating days when you feel like the lone pelvic health PT ranger.  Keep some reminders in your office or treatment rooms that remind you of why you chose this field.  One of my very early patients wrote this sweet but funny poem about her pelvic PT experience.  I ended up framing it and posting it in my office.  Everytime I read it, it made me smile and reminded me of my passion for helping women just like her.  The ones who thought there were no conservative options, who came to me believing that PT could not help – and then were pleasantly surprised and grateful when it did.

I hope this 3-part series has been of benefit for you in starting your pelvic health practice!  Best wishes in your pursuits!

Darla Cathcart, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS was the Director of Education for the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. A new resident of Conway, AR, she is fulfilling her lifelong passion for teaching as an instructor in the PT Program at University of Central Arkansas. She is pursuing a PhD in neurobiology to help research & find solutions for women with chronic pelvic pain. She loves her 7-year-old twin boys, Basset hound and Jack Russel, craft beer, good chocolate and good ice cream.  She runs and lifts weights to balance out those last three.