Disneyland's castle at night

I’m constantly trying to “Disney-fy” The Doctors of Physical Therapy. We are always looking for opportunities to create an experience unlike any other in healthcare. For this, we work hard to find quality employees, build a quality client experience, collaborate, and hold ourselves to the highest standards of evidence-based practice.

To have the opportunity to help people “Live Life Today” and have fun while doing it has been one of my greatest goals in life. As our clinic continues to grow, I would love nothing more than this model of healthcare to be an example to the next generation of providers. Thank you for helping me prove that it can be a reality.

Last month, I had a trip to Orlando where I go a few times a year to learn how to improve my business and better serve our clients. This year, I brought Claire, my wife, so that we could spend some time after the conference to learn from one of the greatest business leaders to ever live: Walt Disney.

While Claire was enjoying the happiest place on earth, I was enjoying learning about the greatest business on earth.

The Details at Disney

Disney is on another level when it comes to their attention to detail. Did you know that the posts at Disney are painted EVERY NIGHT? These posts are touched thousands of times a day, so to ensure that they are looking pristine every day, Disney has people painting posts nightly. They even time out when the temperature and humidity will be optimal to allow the paint time to dry by morning.

If you’ve been to Disney recently, you’ve likely spent some time in Star Wars land. If you haven’t, and you love Star Wars, you need to go. Even the snack kiosks are designed to look like merchant stands from Star Wars and have drink bottles shaped like little grenades. If you’re not a Star Wars fan… you still need to go. Since I was going to be in a business conference most of the time in Orlando, I thought it would be special for my wife if her mom and sisters came to Florida with us. They did end up coming, but weren’t big fans of Star Wars. After the trip, not a week had gone by before Claire’s mom professed that her new favorite land and ride could be found in Star Wars land, and now Claire wants to watch the series. Well done, Disney!

Disney Details at DPT

This goes to show that the details can completely alter experiences and even change minds. I’m well aware that nobody looks forward to having to go to physical therapy. It usually means you’re in pain and can’t do something that you want to do. It’s time consuming and takes effort. In today’s society where you can order something on Amazon and it arrives that afternoon, waiting weeks or months for a result can seem like a lifetime.

What’s special about our clinic is our attention to detail. Because we have the full hour with you, we get to go into all the little details: why you’re doing this many sets and reps, exactly how to do an exercise and how it should feel, and the changes from before and after each session to check that we’re on the right track. This is in stark contrast to many clinics where you’re in a big room with lots of people, have an assistant telling you what to do, and are barely listened to. This leaves many people frustrated and feeling like they could “just do this at home,” but without knowing which of any of the exercises is supposed to be helping.

Personalized Experience

Back to Disney World! When we were standing for the parade, I was standing next to a woman who had a badge that said “first anniversary” and her name. As we watched the parade come down the street, the crew from Toy Story started to pass. One of the soldiers (painted entirely in green), was dancing and waving to everyone. Suddenly he stopped and came over to the woman I was standing next to. He smiled, pointed at her, and said with cheer, “Happy Anniversary Sarah! Have a great day.” Sarah’s day was made in that moment. She wasn’t just a park guest. She was THE guest. This is what we aim for at our clinic.

Too often in healthcare, people are treated like numbers or injured body parts. The way the system is set up is for efficiency, not for quality. The “shoulder patients” get one treatment while the “back patients” get another. All along the way, it’s ignored that only 30% of people complete their PT plans of care, and only 7% of people with back pain get referred to PT. Instead, it’s more likely to get a prescription for painkillers. At DPT we care about the injury, but more so how it affects the person and their lives with their friends, family, and loved ones. We aim to make every part of being at our clinic feel like you’ve got a team around you, all with one goal in mind: helping you Live Life Today.

Where’s The Path?

My favorite story of all is about Walt Disney and one of the gardeners at the park. Disney’s gardeners are likely some of the most devoted gardeners around. If you’ve ever been, you’ve undoubtedly seen the perfect flower arrangements. If there’s anything imperfect about them, they replace the flowers overnight so that the guests don’t see the transition.

Needless to say, a good way to upset the gardeners is to walk on the perfectly manicured grass or near a flower bed. This is exactly what was happening in one highly trafficked area at the park. At a meeting, the gardener brought this up. “All of the park guests are walking on the lawn, tearing up the grass in this area to get a picture! I suggest that we put up a fence to keep them off that area of the grass.”

Walt had the gardener take him to the spot in the park where this was happening. The grass was in bad shape. He took a moment to look around and then replied “The guests are correct, this is a GREAT spot to take a picture! Instead of a fence, let’s build a path through the grass.”

We’re Building A Path In Healthcare

There are so many ‘fences’ in healthcare. What appears to be a solution is only a temporary Band-Aid. Insurance pays to get you functional but doesn’t give two-cents about your enjoyment of life (but will sell it to you like they do). Doctors have limited time with you, making it difficult to design good solutions. People wait weeks to get imaging, then medication, then a referral. My aim has been, and always will be, to build paths for our guests.

One poll states that 80% of companies say that they give great service. However, only 8% of customers feel that they’ve received great service.

I would like to know if you feel my team and I are living up to these expectations. If you would like to share your feedback directly with me, please complete this brief survey.

I review our responses personally and am committed to continually improving our service.

If you haven’t experienced DPT’s Disney details for yourself, request a free, 30-minute Discovery Visit where one of our doctors will get to know you and your goals and help build out your path back to the life you love—without pain killers or surgery.

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Tom