Blue Ridge Partners/Outpatient Physical Therapy Provider Case Study

Outpatient Physical Therapy Provider Case Study

Reversed a negative growth rate in patient visits by implementing a focused referral marketing program, making internal structural changes, and improving messaging.

Situation and Challenge

  • Price increases had facilitated revenue growth but annual patient visits were declining
  • Facing a climate of industry consolidation among health care providers, the mindset of the field personnel was that a referral-based marketing approach was ineffective and outdated
  • The company owners asked us to identify and help realize improvements for reversing the visit decrease and accelerating revenues.
Market Penetration Performance


  • Performed intensive internal data analysis to measure the company’s effectiveness in attracting new customers and penetrating existing customers
  • Interviewed executive and clinic directors to provide context for the analyses and gain insights into the strategies and attitudes of the company
  • Used our The Nine Voices of the Market ® interview approach to understanding referrers’ values and processes for sending patients to physical therapy
  • Developed a set of insights based upon internal and external data which provided the foundation for understanding the key problems and identifying quick solutions for creating visit growth
  • Conducted a pilot program to test the key fundamentals of the strategy and determine how the structure of the program interacted with the culture of the organization
  • Modified and rolled out (in waves) a refined and focused referral-marketing program that would change the culture, supported by structural changes to the organization to address key findings:
    • Wide variances in regional management processes for referral marketing and significant differences in regional performance
    • Infrequent in-person visits by clinic directors with referrers–most “marketing” activities were lower-quality fax and email efforts
    • Most clinics were targeting the same set of referrers and competing against each other for patient visits
    • The most prevalent message – around the quality of care – did not resonate with referring providers who saw this as “table stakes”
Meaningful Messaging


  • Through a progression of analysis, design, test, and iteration, we worked with the provider to create a new referral marketing program which changed the marketing culture of the organization
  • Annual visit growth improved from -2% to +6% company-wide
May 19, 2021