Top 5 Things Patients Want Out Of Physical Therapy

What do patients want? This is a question that payers are now asking in the face of an increasing focus on patient outcomes and a growing trend of ‘empowered patients’ demanding more from their physical therapists and, by implication, the industry.

Patient-centricity may be an industry buzzword but it captures a serious effort to respond to a changing healthcare landscape. Patient engagement companies are now actively seeking to bridge the gap between the potential offered by medical science and the outcomes actually achieved.

Understanding that this requires better engagement throughout the continuum of care, new approaches and innovative technologies such as ‘apps’ that bring clinicians closer to their patients are being explored.

So what do patients want? Health Snaps spoke with patients, their families, patient associations and medical professionals – uncovering five needs to consider.

1. Better health

It’s obvious but still worth stating that people fundamentally just want to get better. The trend for patient empowerment is actually a clear demonstration of this, being an attempt to take greater control over their health and get the best possible outcomes.

Today patients spend less than 10% of their time in the clinic leaving a massive communication void that must be addressed in today’s empowered patient market. Greater than ¾ of patients already use health related apps so there are no excuses for not utilizing mobile technology. Mobile apps bridge the gap in the patient provider relationship and get patients better faster.

2. Specialization

Today patients, especially younger ones, turn to the internet for educate themselves on their injury despite the often incorrect, partial and simply conflicting information. Patients want a physical therapist who is a specialist on their specific diagnosis. As of June 2016, more than 20,000 PTs were certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities as clinical specialists in one of these categories:

  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary
  • Clinical electrophysiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s health

Although a specialization isn’t always required to treat patients with a specific condition, specialized therapists will be able to treat a broader spectrum of patients, and they can definitely make your clinic more marketable.

3. Stronger Relationships

Despite the many digital communication tools available, patients still want direct contact with their healthcare provider. While they are looking elsewhere for additional information, interaction with their clinician is still the priority.

Though technology cannot replace patient/clinician interaction it can certainly improve it. Regardless of age, there is no device used more frequently than the smartphone. There is a massive opportunity to use apps and software to empower physical therapists to improve their patient interactions resulting in better retention, outcomes, and of course clinical revenue. Physical therapy services are only as good as the patient-provider relationship and there is a tremendous amount of money left on the table when the effectiveness of mobile technology is overlooked.

4. Innovative Equipment

A scrappy therapist may be able to accomplish a great deal with a plinth, some free weights and a few other basic tools. However, today’s healthcare consumers want to see the latest and greatest in physical therapy tech. With the right equipment, you’ll likely be able to achieve even greater outcomes. Depending on your patient population and budget, you may want to consider investing in the following tools:

  • Ultrasound
  • Cold lasers
  • The Health Snaps app
  • Cross-training devices
  • Gait and stroke assessment tools
  • Upright walking exoskeletons

5. Digital Engagement

Research has shown that healthcare consumers want a more digital engagement; Far more now than just two years ago. Much of the appeal of digital engagement comes from the high degree of personalization it can provide. In daily life we routinely experience ‘my newsfeed’, ‘my playlists’ so why not ‘my treatment’?

Your patients want to be involved in their own care, and they expect easy access to their PT records, online home exercise programs and even proprietary apps. Creating a menu of digital materials is a good start but if you want to stand out from the competition you should produce video content that educates, instructs, and engages your patients outside of the clinic. Apps like Health Snaps enable you to securely record and share educational, instructive, and motivational video content with your entire patient population in seconds.

About Health Snaps

Health Snaps is a forward-thinking technology company that opens new communication opportunities for physical therapists and works to improve the relationships between clinicians and their patients.

Our solution provides clinicians with the means to securely create and share branded personalized video content with patients, hold patients accountable, and remotely update patient programs when necessary.

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