When patients are seeking treatment in an oversaturated health care market, wouldn't they choose the place that has the best outcomes?
Who would you choose?
This is the key for physical therapy to thrive in healtcare reform and the answer to ONE THING question is
SUPERIOR RESULTS COMPARED TO OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Can you get your patients better, faster, in fewer visits, for a cheaper cost as compared to standard health care?
I recently had the opportunity to lecture at the Florida Physical Therapy Association Student Conclave at Florida International University. I was very excited for this opportunity to educate and inpsire the PT students about the future of physical therapy and how we can thrive in health care reform. I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Sharon Dunn, the APTA president, who actually attended my lecture along with two other APTA Board of Directors. My goal was to educate the students about future trends in healthcare, the current status of physical therapy, and what we need to do to survive and thrive in the future. The students asked lots of questions and were very engaged so I thought it was a very postive response. Dr. Sharon Dunn and the two Board of Directors came up to me after my lecture and both congratulated me on a great presentation. Dr. Sharon Dunn actually gave me props during her keynote lecture, which caught me off guard and I was truly honored, stating she loved my lecture and that "Ron Miller said it best in a presentation earlier, I believe in physical therapy". She further stated the importance of evidenced based practice, decreasing practice variance in physical therapy, and for us to show proven short term and long term outcomes that is supported by research.
The main point is, through all of the heath care changes, practice act limitations, decreased reimbursement, poor business strategies,lack of public awareness, lack of marketing knowledge, etc: we need to have superior outcomes as compared to standard healthcare and other healthcare practitioners! This will allow us to overcome and hardship or future limitations. Physical therapy outcomes, in patients that are best fit to respond to physical therapy treatments, needs to exceed physician outcomes, chiropractic, massage therapy, personal trainer, podiatrist, etc. all other fields of healthcare.
What can you do as a Physical Therapist to make sure you show superior results compared to standard care. This is what I recommend to new PT graduates.
1. Get good quick
Find a mentor. Find a physical therapist that is doing exactly what you want to do and has the advanced training. Make sure that the mentor is willing to spend time to help review research and to teach you clinical decision making and manual therapy.
If you do not have a mentor then I recommend to complete a residency or fellowship. This will get you good real quick.
2. Identify all of the problems with standard care and provide answer to them
See healthcare from the eyes of a patient. All of the waiting periods to see a physician. the waiting peroids in the office. seeing the physician assistant when you wanted to see the physician. going into a clinic with LBP and being diagnosed with .........(wait)..........ready.........LBP. The double and triple booking with other patients. Identify these problems with the patient experience and provide and answer for each one
3. Make your patient experience far superior as compared to the standard
This is simple, especially as a private practice owner, make your patient experience far superior than standard healthcare.
Regardless whether you own a cash based practice, work for an insurance based practice, work for an hospital based system, when it comes down to it, for Physical Therapy to thrive in the future, you have to show superior outcomes compared to standard care and other healthcare practitioners.
So the main point of this blog is as we go through health care reform that we must show superior results with our patients compared to standard health care. If we can do this, then physical therapy will continue to thrive in the future of healthcare.
Are you in the right position to show superior outcomes compared to standard healthcare?
Have you taken the right advanced training to show great patient outcomes?
Are you in the right system to allow you to do what is best for your patients?
What do you feel we need to do to thrive in the future of healthcare?
Owner of Pursuit Physical Therapy
Owner of CashBasedPhysicalTherapy.org