When someone says they’re enrolled in a physical therapy program, what do you think of? Many people may think of exercise programs and braces. Physical therapy, on the other hand, has made significant advancements in recent years. Physical therapy is considered a good option to manage the rehabilitation process. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular physical therapy trends right now.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the incredible advocacy efforts that helped us get to the point where we are now. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS initially relaxed telehealth restrictions, and PTs. The agency’s virtual care expansion efforts did not include OTs and SLPs. CMS, however, heard PTs’ cries for telehealth inclusion thanks to a coordinated industry-wide advocacy push. It expanded its emergency telehealth legislation to include rehab therapists on April 30, 2020.
Physical therapy in times of pandemic
The PT industry has been shaking up like a snowglobe by the pandemic. Elective surgeries were put on hold across the country at one point. It is completely obliterating a major source of PT patient referrals. For a time, PTs were not permitted to provide telehealth services. It compelled them to think outside the box in terms of how they advertised and delivered their services. As the number of Covid-19 cases rises across the country, many potential patients are choosing to stay at home. Therapists must come up with new ways to help patients without meeting them face to face.
Telehealth has evolved from a niche out-of-pocket service to an essential tool in any provider’s clinical toolkit. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic approximately 13,000 beneficiaries in fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare received telemedicine service in a week. Nearly 1.7 million people received telehealth services in the last week of April. Nearly 9 million Medicare beneficiaries have received some form of telehealth treatment, according to CMS.
As indicated by the CDC, the 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020, compared with the same period in 2019 might have been related to pandemic telehealth policy changes and public health guidance. Hospitals are increasingly using telemedicine applications to manage the rehabilitation process.
Focus on Mental Health
Everyone has been put through a lot this year. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned, whether about the pandemic or not. As a result, some clinics have shifted their internal processes to focus on improving the mental health of their employees. Many clinic leaders have used this as an opportunity to learn more about their employees and better support them, from hosting mental health education sessions and creating employee resource groups to improving mental health insurance coverage.
The BLM movement this year has sparked serious discussions about curating diversity within the PT community. It’s a well-known fact that promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace can be extremely beneficial to companies. Diverse workforces are more creative, solve problems more quickly, and make better decisions. The health outcomes of patients of various races differ significantly, and it is critical to recognize and address this issue. If diversity is the key to resolving the problem of unequal health outcomes, it’s worth investigating.
One significant trend we’ve noticed is a strong emphasis on improving patient safety. PTs have always prioritized patient safety. Its origins, however, were in the prevention of musculoskeletal overexertion and injury. Infection and disease control were not high on the list of concerns for rehab therapists. However, today’s PTs are all disease control experts. Clinics all over the country have gone to great lengths to keep their patients safe.
This year has been tiring for physical therapists, but better days are ahead. The difficulties Practitioners confronted for this present year will proceed somewhat until we can stop the spread of COVID-19. The trend of digitization—carrying your practice into the now—has changed the business by making it simpler to associate, bill, and speak with patients.
Telehealth has been another trend to watch out for, as persistent and practice variation has taken off higher than ever. The comfort given by this assistance will probably build general visits— even with the massive backlog for physical therapy services.
With or without changes, dealing with the patient’s physical and psychological wellness is still the primary concern. So think about these trends and adapt.