“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people interact with each other. Consumers have gravitated to on-demand care and virtual physical therapy is exploding in popularity as a result.
In this coronavirus age, employees are doing their jobs from the couch or at the kitchen table. We’re hearing from employers that employees are struggling to access physical therapy for back and joint pain. Left untreated, this pain is often exacerbated, leading to surgeries and mental health issues. In most cases early therapy intervention expedites healing and returns the patient to prior levels of function faster.
While it’s true that not every injury is suitable to virtual care, any soft-tissue injury that inhibits movement can be improved through a digital MSK platform. A soft-tissue injury is an injury that does not affect the bone. Examples include sprain, strain, swelling or bruising and even back, shoulder and neck pain. To address such issues, patients do not need to see their Primary Care Provider (PCP) prior to most PT appointments. There is a large amount of research that demonstrates better long-term outcomes at lower cost when treatment for a MSK concern starts with PT. It can also save a great deal of time.
Virtual Physical Therapy is a safe and effective way to deliver therapy services both now during COVID-19, and also as a way to extend continuity of care. Employees are able to connect with licensed therapists from the convenience of their home.
Traditionally, patients would have 1-2 visits with a doctor, possibly have x-rays or other imaging, and/or receive prescriptions for medications. Very often, after this was done, the patient is then referred to PT. This passive and or misguided approach may cause de-conditioning and be counter-productive to recovery.
With the ability to schedule appointments faster, virtual physical therapy enables a “PT-first” approach, which can cut down on unnecessary (and expensive) diagnostic testing, opioid prescriptions, and other treatments that could be unnecessary or even harmful.