Starting a Private Physical Therapy Practice – What Equipment do You Need

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Starting your own private physical therapy practice can be very exciting and challenging. There are several questions that need to be answered and a multitude of tasks to complete. When selecting equipment for your practice there are a variety of options available that may vary considerably in regard to costs. Since most new private practice owners may have a limited budget, a detailed analysis of your specific needs and the costs required to satisfy those needs should be carefully thought out. One of the biggest mistakes a new owner can make is to “put the cart in front of the horse” Often, many new private practice owners will feel like they should have all of the same equipment which established clinics have. One thing that a new practice owner should remember is that those established clinics most likely didn’t have every single piece of equipment from the onset. It most likely took time for those clinics to further establish themselves both market wise and financially before pursuing further purchases. When selecting equipment, the APTA Private Practice Section’s “The How-To Manual” (1) recommends the following: 1) create two lists a) the first list should include a list of the diagnoses, joint problems, and patient populations which you most likely will be treating. b) the second list should include the most important type of equipment and clinical furniture for each clinical category.

2) rate the overall importance of each piece of equipment on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 not very important – 5 very important) 3) rate the versatility of each prospective piece of equipment on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 not very versatile – 5 very versatile) 4) select equipment items, within your budget, that meet all your essential needs and that because of their versatility can serve as many of your secondary and tertiary needs as possible Utilizing the selection process mentioned above should allow you to not only have a better understanding of your needs but be able to prioritize them as well. A list of some of the equipment to consider for starting a private physical therapy practice are included below: Clinical Equipment • goniometers
• tape measurer
• treatment tables (wooden or high/low) • stools • large mirror • stationary bike • treadmill • thera-tubing/thera-band • hand weight set • physio ball • freezer/ice packs • ultrasound machine/ultrasound gel warmer • e-stim machine • hydrocollator/hot packs • parallel bars or railing • medicine balls • wand/stick • pulleys set • exercise prescription software program or exercise flashcards for copy • stackable steps As your practice continues to grow you will learn more about your needs and you will eventually be able to purchase the additional equipment which will make the most sense for your practice. Meanwhile don’t hesitate to generate a wish list of equipment which you would like to obtain in the future once your practice is more established. You can utilize the same selection process mentioned above to prioritize your wish list. Through careful planning and hard work you will realize your full potential and enjoy the benefits of being in private practice even more

Many clinics find that early cash flow is a problem. One easy way to help your cash flow is to lease your long-term equipment. In startup practices “cash is king” so don’t tie up all your startup capital in equipment. If you have additional questions about selecting equipment for your private physical therapy practice or questions in general about starting your own practice, please contact us at: