Activa: Tendonitis and Sports

Health &Wellness The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

FLIPPING THE PYRAMID!

PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN/FAMILYDOCTOR

PHYSICAL THERAPY

SPECIALTYPHYSICIAN(ORTHOPEDIST, PAINMANAGEMENTSPECIALIST,ETC.)

IMAGING (X-RAY,MRI)

MEDICATIONS

SPECIALTYPHYSICIAN(ORTHOPEDIST, PAINMANAGEMENTSPECIALIST,ETC.)

IMAGING (X-RAY,MRI)

MEDICATIONS

PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN/FAMILYDOCTOR

PHYSICAL THERAPY

Physical therapists have been advocating for patient direct access for more than two decades. With the profession requiring a doctoral level degree, physical therapists have ample ability to independently evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients without a physician referral or approval. A 2005 study showed that experienced physical therapists had higher levels of knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions than all physician specialists except for orthopedists! Direct access has reshaped and continues to morph both patients’ and physical therapists’ model of care. Prior to direct access, patients required physician approval and often a referral or prescription to a PT clinic of the doctor’s choice to gain access to PT services. For most, this was a multistep process. Those unfamiliar with the varying degrees of specialty physicians often visited their primary care provider (family physician) for guidance and a diagnosis of their issue. Unfortunately, this model often leads to referral to a specialist such as an orthopedic physician. A 2017 Merrit Hawkins study showed that the average wait time to see a specialist physician is 24 days! At this point, the specialist has multiple options for the patient

including imaging, such as MRI or x-ray, or referral to physical therapy. This process can take weeks for patients to complete as their problem continues to limit them in day-to-day life. Additionally, multiple physician visits, imaging, medication, etc. can lead to extravagant medical costs. With direct access, these middlemen are essentially cut out relieving patients from many of these issues. Direct access allows patients to seek a PT first without hassle of multiple physician visits and referrals. In addition to seeking physical therapy services for a specific issue, direct access allows for patients to seek PT for injury prevention, strength and fitness, and health promotion! Ultimately, seeking a physical therapist first can reduce the recovery time as well as the medical costs attributed tomultiple physician visits. So, before you seek out a physician for diagnosis and treatment of an injury or other musculoskeletal issue, try physical therapy! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1177956/ (2017) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7780612_A_ Description_of_Physical_Therapists'_Knowledge_in_Managing_ Musculoskeletal_Conditions (2005)

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