The sooner you seek PT, the better
In my 2 last columns, I introduced you to the concept of Transitions Physical Therapy being a neuromechanical PT specialist clinic. We explored the evidence of why seeing a neuromechanical expert is beneficial and that research shows a clear advantage to the utilization of a physical therapy specialist in three major areas,
Expertise Cost Savings Reduced Visits.
In this article, let’s address the third question, what does it mean for your time and healthcare dollars? The answer is less visits, less co-pays, less insurance utilized and greater satisfaction. Direct access utilization of a physical therapy first, has been shown to reduce overall physical therapy visits per episode and reduced overall healthcare cost.
· In a physical therapy study published in 2015 by Childs et al, low back pain patients receiving early and adherent physical therapy had 60% lower total LBP-related costs during the 2-year follow-up period.
· In a physical therapy review published in 2014, by Ojha et al, 4 of 6 studies that included number of PT visits for direct access versus referred access showed a significant reduction of visits per patient episode of care for those who directly accessed PT services.
· That same review showed that the PT direct access group showed reduced visits and follow up visits to their primary care providers.
· As well as, patients reported a higher level of satisfaction when they received physical therapy through direct access versus physician referral.
· Lastly, it is suggested by data from the included studies that patients receiving physical therapy through direct access versus referral had better outcomes at discharge.
Again, as stated previously, in no way should PT be a substitute for your general practitioner, but when it comes to musculoskeletal conditions, the old philosophy of “rest it,” “it will go away,” and when it doesn’t, seek help, clearly increases your healthcare cost.