Some hopeful silver linings to the terrible situation that COVID 19 has put us in is the realization that there needs to be a lot of changes in how we regulate, deliver and consume healthcare as a society. Also, we as humans need to take responsibility for our healthcare rather than put it on the system to do that for us.
I personally think that the rise of Telehealth medicine and more specifically Telehealth PT and Virtual Fitness will show is that you don't "NEED": ❌Manual therapy ❌3 sessions a week ❌Dry Needling ❌E stim ❌Taping ❌Ultrasound ❌Ice and heat
To get better!!!!!! Can those things be helpful for some patients and part of a successful treatment program?
Yes But if you have to consistently rely on your healthcare practitioner to adjust, release, stab, tape or poke you just to feel better, then that is not a good long term solution to taking control of your health.
This doesn't mean that the value of a face to face interaction will go away but rather open up new doors and ways of thinking as far as how we distribute healthcare. I believe a hybrid approach involving in-person sessions, virtual follow-ups, and remote online delivered care will not only improve the efficiency of care but also reduce the costs to patients. This will allow us as healthcare professionals to get creative in how we deliver quality and affordable care and still get reimbursed for what we deserve.
This will force good critically thinking clinicians to rise to the top, patients to take a more active role in their care and promote self-efficacy.
This will impart also depend on reducing some of the red tape and regulations that provide more of a limitation rather than a benefit to the healthcare system. Things like direct access to physical therapy, federal rather than state licensure and insurances getting on board with covering virtual based treatments are good places to start in my opinion. Again all of this is easier said than done when you are talking about the bureaucracy of the government and CMS. When it comes to healthcare the more you can kee yourself out of the system the better off you will be. We do a great job of lifesaving care but not so good when it comes to the day to day health issues that are to some degree lifestyle driven. As well, when it comes to healthcare, less is always more, but unfortunately, we currently live in a system where more healthcare leads to more money leading to and overmedicalization of our society.
At the end of the day, when it comes to rehab and wellness a few simple things go a long way:
Listening to the Patient first and meeting them where they are.
Finding a balance between patient expectations and offering evidence-based care.
Focusing on movement-based and active therapy while utilizing passive modalities sparingly and only as needed.
Focusing on building small attainable habits for lifestyle and mindset changes.
Being available for follow-ups, providing feedback, guidance, providing motivation and congratulations and availability through a variety of platforms.
Focusing on what the patient can do and start there.
Promoting strength, movement exploration, and regular activity.
My goal is to help as many people as I can during and beyond the current crisis that we are living in.
My sincere hope is that we come out on the other end of this with a motivation to change how we approach our own wellness and health individually and a realization that real changes need to be made to healthcare policies moving forward. Stay tuned for more to come from my #lifelongathleteproject Dr. JP GUIDRY DPT CSCS TPI