Suc­cess­ful­ly build up a self-pay area step by step

Phys­io­ther­a­py prac­tice “Raum für gesund­heit”, Stuttgart

A 30-year tra­di­tion – and the chal­lenge of keep­ing up with the times

A prac­tice with a long tra­di­tion in con­ver­sa­tion with Pix­for­mance: Found­ed more than 30 years ago as a mas­sage and bathing prac­tice, the phys­io­ther­a­py prac­tice “Raum für Gesund­heit” (for­mer­ly: Ther­a­piezen­trum Heike Schaible) from Stuttgart has since changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly and devel­oped fur­ther in its offerings.

On a total of 400 square meters of prac­tice space, own­er Heike Schaible and her col­leagues have suc­cess­ful­ly built a phys­io­ther­a­py prac­tice, includ­ing an exten­sive self-pay offer. After work­ing as a masseuse in the prac­tice, Heike Schaible took over the busi­ness ten years after the prac­tice was found­ed. In the course of this, she also trained as a phys­io­ther­a­pist and non-med­ical prac­ti­tion­er, and lat­er as an osteopath, to con­stant­ly expand the range of ser­vices offered by the prac­tice and keep her fin­ger on the pulse of the times.

Heike Schaible

Heike Schaible

Own­er of the phys­io­ther­a­py prac­tice “Raum für Gesund­heit”, Germany

Physiotherapist supervises patient during digital training at Pixformance station

Logo Raum für Gesundheit



Prac­tice Profile
Loca­tion Stuttgart, Baden-Würt­tem­berg, Germany
Found­ed 1987
Prac­tice Size 400 qm in 3 seper­ate rooms
Main Focus Phys­io­ther­a­py, Sus­tain­able Health Pro­mo­tion, Osteopa­thy, Body-ori­ent­ed Psychotherapy
Employ­ees 7 ther­a­pists
More Info www​.rfg​-stuttgart​.de


Relief of ther­a­pists, more inde­pen­dence from health insur­ance services

In order to cir­cum­vent the billing bar­ri­ers for ser­vices in osteopa­thy, Heike Schaible decid­ed in 2009: Now to set up the first self-pay area. From the step into the sec­ond health care mar­ket, Schaible promised her­self an added val­ue in two points in particular.

On the one hand, the self-pay area gives you the chance to have more time for the patients. As a result, we as ther­a­pists are nat­u­ral­ly exposed to sig­nif­i­cant­ly less stress. On the oth­er hand, we are also con­cerned with inde­pen­dence from the statu­to­ry health insur­ance com­pa­nies, as the remu­ner­a­tion for us phys­io­ther­a­pists is very low. So both the patients and we ther­a­pists have a pos­i­tive ben­e­fit from the expand­ed pri­vate offer.”

In a sep­a­rate space, across the street from her phys­i­cal ther­a­py prac­tice, she and her col­leagues were also able to gain a foothold in the sec­ondary health care mar­ket back in 2009. “So on one side, we have the physio offer as a health insur­ance and pri­vate ser­vice and oppo­site the so-called “Wirkraum,” exclu­sive­ly for self-pay patients.

It is a big chal­lenge: to build up the self-pay­er area and estab­lish it as just that, and to dis­tin­guish it from the prac­tice clearly.”

There is just a lack of under­stand­ing some­times that you can­not bill every­thing on the prescription.”

The spa­tial sep­a­ra­tion now also makes the sep­a­ra­tion of ser­vices more obvi­ous to patients,” says Schaible. Before, she was often met with a lack of under­stand­ing from patients about what was pri­vate and what was not. In gen­er­al, it is a great challenge:

To build up the self-pay area, estab­lish it as such, and clear­ly dis­tin­guish it from the prac­tice. “Some­times, there is a lack of under­stand­ing that not every­thing can be billed to the pre­scrip­tion. How­ev­er, we are also notic­ing a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment towards a change in thinking.

Com­pared to ten years ago, there is a clear improve­ment in under­stand­ing the self-pay­er area in phys­io­ther­a­py. For exam­ple, var­i­ous after-work ser­vices are well received, but still, the recog­ni­tion of self-pay ser­vices remains one of our challenges.”

In addi­tion, to expand the self-pay area in terms of train­ing ther­a­py, she also decid­ed to use Pix­for­mance’s dig­i­tal train­ing con­cept last year. “Med­i­cine and, of course, the demands of patients as well as the demands on ther­a­pists have evolved, so of course you keep at it, evolve and see what is new, what is different.”

That is why in a third loca­tion, not far from Schaible’s prac­tice and the Wirkraum, it was time to set up a sec­ond self-pay area: The “Move­ment Room.” Four Pix­for­mance train­ing sta­tions were set up there in an 80-square-foot room.

First of all, we often hear from our patients that they do not feel so com­fort­able in a gym. Thus, I think this is a great way to help peo­ple stay moving.”

Med­i­cine as well as, of course, the demands of patients and ther­a­pists have evolved. That is why, of course, you keep at it, evolve and see what is new, what is different.”

She was already famil­iar with Pix­for­mance through her mem­ber­ship in the wom­en’s fit­ness chain Mrs.Sporty, co-found­ed by Pix­for­mance own­er Valerie Bures-Bön­ström. With over 200,000 exer­cis­ers per year, the Pix­for­mance con­cept has been used in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries since 2013.

I was train­ing with Pix­for­mance, and I just enjoyed it so much, func­tion­al train­ing made sense to me right away. Then I thought that this could be a super addi­tion to ther­a­py for our cus­tomers. Above all, we often hear from our patients that they do not feel com­fort­able in a gym. So I think it is a great way to help peo­ple keep mov­ing. Many of our patients have easy access to an exer­cise pro­gram like this, so that also increas­es under­stand­ing again in terms of self-pay.” 

I want to use Pix­for­mance to build a sec­ond self-pay area, pri­mar­i­ly to accom­mo­date my staff and give them an eas­i­er and more var­ied job.”

For Heike Schaible, the thought of vir­tu­al­ly super­vised train­ing and the asso­ci­at­ed relief and sup­port for her employ­ees was anoth­er rea­son for the pur­chase deci­sion. “Espe­cial­ly when I think about the short­age of skilled work­ers: so many col­leagues are com­plete­ly burned out.” This was also the main rea­son for set­ting up the sec­ond self-pay area and expand­ing the range of ser­vices to include the exer­cise room.

Two digital Pixformance training stations with real-time visual feedback

Above all, I want to accom­mo­date my employ­ees and offer them eas­i­er and more var­ied work. Thanks to the dig­i­tal con­cept, my employ­ees are sig­nif­i­cant­ly relieved in car­ing for patients at the Pix­for­mance wards.” The train­ing instruc­tions pro­vid­ed by the vir­tu­al per­son­al train­er and the cor­rec­tions in real-time also make it pos­si­ble to care for sev­er­al patients at the same time — and with­out any sig­nif­i­cant super­vi­sion effort. “The sec­ond self-pay area, the exer­cise room, is thus anoth­er step toward bet­ter com­pen­sa­tion and a more pleas­ant dai­ly work routine.”

Due to the pan­dem­ic, how­ev­er, the use of the Pix­for­mance equip­ment in their case is cur­rent­ly lim­it­ed. “Since we do not offer Pix­for­mance train­ing on pre­scrip­tion in the physio prac­tice and have out­sourced it, it can­not run as med­ical train­ing ther­a­py in our prac­tice. How­ev­er, my phys­i­cal ther­a­py col­leagues occa­sion­al­ly go into the space with patients. Most of them are imme­di­ate­ly enthu­si­as­tic about it and think it is great. How­ev­er, we are not yet able to use the facil­i­ties so con­sis­tent­ly. Of course, we hope that this will change as soon as pos­si­ble, that the sit­u­a­tion will improve, and that we will be able to leave the lock­down behind us,” says Schaible.

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