Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Not Rocket Science!

Another example came across my desk of the need and common sense behind direct access to physical therapy services.  A story of workers at an Intel plant showed that may workers who spend their majority of their days on their feet had back pain.  The majority of these people suffered with this pain because they knew that it would take several weeks to get to their doctors appointment and get a referral to physical therapy.  By the time this happened pain was so bad that they needed less conservative care or their pain disappeared.  It is not a good outcome to have a patient tell you that their pain just disappeared when you hear the flip side that they were in pain at work for more than a month at a time. 

Times have changed at Intel and now rather than waiting to see a doctor may employees with routine back pain see a physical therapist within 2 days.  This is in comparison to the 19 days on average that they took to get in to see a medical doctor.  Overall these patients were completing their program and out of pain within 21 days rather than the average of 52 days with the old system. 

Another issue, not apparent to the public, was that the cost per patient dropped on average 20% secondarily to fewer unnecessary doctor visits and diagnostic tests.  Every patient was more satisfied with this trial system and returned to work faster.

Why can't we adopt this simple and effective model in our health care system. "Early access to low cost effective care seems so simple yet in our current health care system it remains exception and not the rule."1  Whenever you see anything regarding direct access to physical therapy we at Hayashida and Associates urge you  to support it...for your own good.

Written By: Andrew Bisaccia, PT, DPT

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