In the second installment of this three-part series, Rachel Neylan, an Olympic pro-cyclist in the Women's World Tour racing circuit, delves deeper into the concept of the "high performance framework." She emphasizes the importance of objective metrics in physical rehabilitation for all patients. Drawing from her expertise, we have adapted these insights to the realm of outpatient physical therapy and musculoskeletal care. This article aims to provide PT clinic operators and owners with valuable considerations on how technology that quantifies patient movement can be utilized to enhance both patient outcomes and differentiate your physical therapy clinic.
Human beings are made to move. Wired deep in our biology as a means for survival is an immense capacity for physical performances of varying purposes. Our unique physiology and biology create a unique advantage for adaptability, and mobility.
I was born an athlete, innately inquisitive about my own capacity for physical performance. At the age of 10, I developed a passion for athletics, and the running track was my playground. Every Saturday morning after each race, I received a ticket with a handwritten time. I religiously stuck them in a book when I returned home to track my performance. Little did I know it, but I was forming the foundations of my athletic career.
Monitoring metrics, tracking improvement, and measuring performance outcomes has emerged pivotal to my athletic career. This is indeed an advantageous skill set, as longevity of an athlete requires a delicate mix of both art and science. Fast track to today. Now, I measure the power of every pedal stroke, speed, and altitude as well as the temperature of every kilometer, heart rate variability, body angles, sleep quality, blood glucose and blood lactate levels just to name a few.
Movement Metrics Beyond Performance
I believe we all have an athlete inside of us, we just vary in our desired or required level of performance. Whether we like it or not, data metrics can play a role for us all, for musculoskeletal rehabilitation or our own performance domain. Humans have been measuring physical metrics in some form since civilization began recording their stories. In the technology age, never before have we had the means to so easily and deeply analyze those metrics to understand how we can improve physical dysfunction or any other movement pattern.
Over time, particularly as technology plays a bigger role in our lifestyle, our lives are simply more sedentary. Technology advancements support our lifestyles, including how we move, how much we move and the quality of our movements throughout the day. When it comes to our healthcare system and technology to help our recovery, movement health metrics are an important part of our understanding. We simply can't improve what we don't understand about our anatomy, physiology or biology as it changes, declines or becomes dysfunctional. We rely on the data and metrics to propel ourselves forward.
Forget Olympic-sized performances, orthopedic rehab should be empowered by numbers, too!
Movement quality metrics as a mainstream mode of musculoskeletal health optimization create a simple, logical, and objective tool for rehabilitation, longevity, and performance settings. Emulating the high-performance athlete care and embracing a data-driven approach to correcting injury and maintaining movement health is the crucial next step in helping patients achieve their goals, like athletes.
In the current landscape, the outpatient PT clinic is witnessing the emergence of new software solutions aimed at meeting the increasing demand for rehabilitation services. However, the industry is facing challenges in the aftermath of COVID-19, including a shortage of physical therapy professionals, which places a heavy workload and administrative burdens on existing provider teams. Additionally, external payer pressures add to the complexities faced by outpatient musculoskeletal care providers as they strive to balance quality care with financial considerations. In this context, a diverse range of technology solutions is being explored to deliver both care value and business value. In the 21st century, with advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, it is not unreasonable to expect data-driven solutions that offer solutions for both realities.
Serving musculoskeletal patients as elite athletes by offering data-driven tools for personalized recoveries, doesn’t have to be another cost-center. See our other post 2024 Strategy for Outpatient PT Clinic Profitability to learn more about evaluating revenue time activities. When considering new software solutions, it is a business imperative today that PT operators and owners expect from their technologies to include analytics that support patient care and deliver clinic value (which may come in many different forms).
Let's not mistake AI and emerging clinical technologies as hype but rather think of them as solutions that take the Physical Therapy Clinic to a new level to accelerate patients’ ability to live free from recoverable limitations while also facilitating a way to work more efficiently and profitably.