The obvious goal of physical therapy is to feel better and return to normal, bodily function but barriers such as high co-pays and deductibles, and inconvenient appointment times can restrict the process. When you couple these barriers with sometimes seemingly endless visits and lack of shared information of progress, it can feel like physical therapy is a waste of your precious time and money.
It poses the question: how do I know my physical therapist is saving me time and money?
It’s a fair question. As mentioned, physical therapy can be expensive. Flat fee copays for physical therapy can really add up, especially if you’re seeing your therapist two or three times a week, and that cost can skyrocket if you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan. Not to mention, trying to balance your schedule with the clinic’s schedule can be inconvenient and disruptive to your progress. When faced with these factors, it is important to make sure you are getting the most out of your dollar and making the most of our valuable time.
In this day and age, your therapist should be using an outcomes-based management strategy as proof of their efficiency. With outcomes-based management, physical therapists are able to predict, on average, how much improvement you should typically experience, along with the typical average number of visits, as well as evaluate whether they meet, exceed or does not meet the prediction. The data that’s provided grants transparency and shared decision making during the course of your plan of care so you are aware of each step of your treatment. It’s important that this data is shared with you, so you can readily determine the efficiency of your physical therapist and the effectiveness of your treatment.
Achieving those predicted outcomes and returning to normal is everyone’s goal when attending physical therapy. Be sure you’re not wasting your time and money— stay involved.