Physical therapists improve the quality of life for their patients. For instance, these professionals help people who have been having difficulties walking for months successfully walk. Quality Physical Therapy (PT) sessions can also help you go back to hugging and lifting your children, something that would have been impossible due to lower back pain.
And yet, what physical therapists do is often undervalued. If we go by any physical therapy billing company reports, then physical therapists have the lowest insurance claims.
But why do patients find it difficult to pay $150 for an hour of physical therapy when they would gladly pay the same amount or even more for a 15 minutes session with a doctor?
To understand this, let’s look at the reasons why physical therapy is undervalued.
1. Physical Therapy Is Misunderstood
The physical therapy profession is greatly misunderstood. When people think of essential health treatments, PT doesn’t come to mind.
Most people view physical therapists as professionals who only provide aid for sport or physical injuries. Due to lack of awareness, others view physical therapists as people who offer massages to make neck or back pain go away.
Undoubtedly, many consumers don’t understand what physical therapists do, which makes the profession lack an identity.
Part of the problem is that there is little to no advocacy from physical therapists to give this industry a voice or change the general population’s mindset.
Advocacy can help consumers know that PT addresses many concerns, including improving terminally ill patients’ lives and treating physical, psychological, and spiritual problems. More physical therapists need to speak up about their profession.
2. Physical Therapists Are Selling Their Service Wrong
Many physical therapists undersell their services. These professionals’ commonly used model is where someone comes to their clinic, receives physical therapy care for an hour, and pays around $10-20. This makes the public develop a mindset that an hour of a physical therapist’s time is only worth $10-20.
It’s time that physical therapists change how they value their business and show patients that their product is of value. Part of this can be achieved by physical therapists learning how to sell better.
These professionals can:
- Harness the power of emotional stories in their sales and marketing campaigns
- Let consumers know what physical therapy is all about and how many sessions one may need to get better
- Keep the attention and care focused on patients internal drivers for seeking PT
3. Customer Care Is Crucial
Many physical therapists focus too much on treating specific conditions forgetting that customer care is also essential. For most patients, treatment doesn’t make the whole PT experience. Many patients are more concerned about how they are treated as human beings.
For instance, some patients’ satisfaction is based on the physical therapists’ first impression, and others focus on therapist-patient communication. Yet others loath the delays they experience in medical billing due to the therapist’s inability to hire a third-party biller.
It’s important now more than ever for physical therapists to take customer service and their interaction with patients more seriously if they want patients to enjoy their services.
4. Physical Therapists Need To Use Evidence-Based Practice
In physical therapy, there is a lot of subjectivity concerning the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. Many physical therapists often use their gut feeling to choose the methods they use to treat their patients. The result is that variations exist in the treatment methods and outcomes used by different therapists.
Besides, since treatment options aren’t based on evidence-based models, there is a turf of war among therapists on the interventions and care models that should be used.
Unfortunately, patients are at the center of this turf of war, which often affirms the profession’s inefficiency.
Physical therapists should embrace the evidence-based practice in making clinical decisions. This will help them prove to patients that what they do works. Through the diligent use of researched evidence, the quality of care will improve, and more patients will have more confidence in PT.
In closing, the services that physical therapists offer are precious. But if the perception that PT is of little value is to change, there is a need for more advocacy to change the masses’ mindset. Physical therapists also need to convey the value of the profession in everything they do.