"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Physical Therapy Acid Test

Physical therapy is a commodity.

That's the conclusion I reach when I ask my peers at work, writers on blogs and members of e-mail list-serves the following question...

"What is physical therapy?"

I usually get a strange look followed by a textbook answer along the lines of 'Physical therapy is the assessment and treatment of movement dysfunction...'

This answer strikes me as too wordy and rehearsed.

Physical therapy needs a better answer to that question.

I recently ran across this 'acid test' in the print version of BtoB: The Magazine for Marketing Strategists. The article was on the declining 'brand equity' of major United States airlines.

"The acid test, he said, is simply to ask what an airline stands for. “What does United Airlines stand for?” he asked. “If you have to stop and think for more than three seconds to find a single word to describe them, then they're a commodity.”

Physical therapy needs a single unifying theme that creates a wide economic moat that other professions cannot infringe.

That theme should be measurement.

Measurement leads to physical therapy diagnosis.

Physical therapy diagnosis is a prerequisite for the 'holy grail' of health care ...


"How much will it cost?"

"How long will it take?"

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is measurement.

There! Passed the acid test.

Free Tutorial

Get free stuff at BulletproofPT.com

Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

Share PTD with your Peers!

American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.