Monthly Archives: June 2019
I was excited to learn that my article on how physical therapists use outcome data was the cover story in the spring 2019 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Perspectives magazine.
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Your data has power. Every day, physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) use data from patient measures to guide their treatment decisions. But those measures—and, in fact, every piece of information that goes into a patient’s chart—can do more. Data can demonstrate your efficacy and the value of physical therapy on a broad scale. And as value-based payment, merit-based incentives, and interprofessional care teams become more prevalent, communicating the impact of physical therapy will be crucial.
PTs and PTAs play a vital role in patient outcomes across an entire episode of care—and a patient’s life. For those early in their career, “it’s going to become very important to say, ‘I help manage people over a lifetime,’” said Paul Rockar, PT, DPT, CEO of the UPMC Centers for Rehab Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When a PT or PTA helps a patient’s situation, such as overcoming low back pain, and becomes “their go-to person to keep in touch and help them manage that problem,” Rockar said, the practitioner’s information about that success is a significant selling point.
“We’ve realized that a lot of health care providers still may not fully understand what happens in physical therapy,” said Mike Osler, PT, vice president of growth and development for Rock Valley Physical Therapy, an orthopedic practice across Iowa and Illinois. “Frequently, it’s ‘I didn’t know you guys treated fill-in-the-blank.’” Rock Valley Physical Therapy has used case data to demonstrate how 10 or 12 physical therapy visits can increase a patient’s level of functionality to 80% or 90%.
In any field, your passions can drive your commitment to giving back to the community, whether locally, nationally, or internationally. This article was published in the winter 2018 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Perspectives magazine.
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Two days after the baby boy died, doctors finally discovered his diagnosis—and it had been a treatable condition. His physical therapist (PT), Mary Elizabeth Parker, PT, PhD, found herself deeply angry and considered quitting practice. Instead, she focused the anger into a passion for undiagnosed and rare disorders, making a volunteer commitment that transformed her practice, research, and dissertation direction. “There’s more that we could do. We couldn’t save him, but I bet there are others we can save,” she said. Partnering with 2 women who had lost children to undiagnosed causes, she founded U.R. Our Hope, a nonprofit that supports families coping with undiagnosed and rare disorders. Parker is a board-certified clinical specialist in pediatric physical therapy and in neurologic physical therapy and is on the faculty at Texas State University.
… Whatever the spark that lights the path to pro bono work—a mother’s inspiration, anger after a patient’s death, or a simple invitation to participate—giving service provides personal and professional fulfillment and growth. “You get a great education, and you come out very prepared, but now you’re on a new learning slope. Work has become the learning, and it’s continuous learning, both about yourself, your patients, and your practice,” Iwand said.