Think back to when you were in PT school, or a new graduate… if you were anything like me, you thought EVERYONE could benefit from physical therapy! When did that go away??
Physical therapy is the best profession, and I still think every person could benefit from intervention. I will admit that the health care system has certainly impacted how we approach our patients, which is unfortunate even if it is a necessary factor for many workplaces. But do we have to be complacent as often as we are? I think that it is time for a paradigm shift in the business model of physical therapy.
We are taught to develop measurable goals to solve our patients’ problems, and once we achieve these goals, we discharge them from services. No successful business model is built on getting rid of customers! As therapists, we feel pride in getting a person from point A to point B - and congratulating them on no longer needing us. We have developed a rapport with our client, and hope that they will come back to us should they feel the need, and/or refer their friends and family to see us when they have any impairment... However, hope does not translate into revenue.
Zohar Kapasi, PhD, MBA defines physical therapists as providers who “help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities in patients with injury or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. Physical therapists are the leaders in rehabilitation that allows individuals with chronic conditions to return to productive lives. Physical therapists also are key health care team members who address prevention initiatives, such as reducing falls, improving physical activity to mitigate chronic disease and secondary health conditions, and tailoring wellness programs for populations that have chronic conditions and/or disabilities.” If you agree with this statement, you can see how everyone could benefit from physical therapy. No one is in optimal health.
As a profession, we need to be more creative in keeping our clients with us. And I will get further into this next time.