Being experienced, a “seasoned professional” in the words of the APTA, I was asked to write about physical therapy for National Physical Therapy Month. All of us have seen changes in this industry, good and bad, ultimately inevitable. As they say, “the only constant is change.” (Heraclitus)
“Good” changes in PT and rehab include technology and technique. New technology includes lasers, EMR, dry needling, iontophoresis and much more. Some will last and some will not. Technologies that have lasted include isokinetics, electronic exercise programs and Internet-based information. Our techniques have evolved and improved based on science, investigation and parallel improvements in all of medicine.
The “bad” changes we are facing are not new or unexpected. In fact, they have been encountered before and made our profession better. Wise King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” We faced extreme financial hardship in PT back in the 1990s called managed care in the form of HMOs and restricted access. It was painful, even unfair, but we as a profession emerged with confirmation that our services are necessary, beneficial and scientifically valid. We improved the techniques, efficiency and evidence (science) of our practice.
Finally, and most important, is what has not changed. Our profession emerged to fill a need in medicine that ensures maximal function and quality of life. Physical therapy and rehab have successfully fulfilled that mission and continue to do so. In fact, our profession is now bigger with better scientific evidence and effectiveness than ever before – in spite of the challenge and change.
While the industry currently faces adversity we pride ourselves on continuing to offer clinically superior care based on a patient’s medical necessity versus their insurance constraints. Our purpose is centered on our patients and we will always do what is their best interest.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (Maxwell)
By: Greg Bennett, Executive Vice President