Healthcare is Coming Over

Better Straighten Up the House!

Last week, the WSJ Health Blog was abuzz about announcements by a group of high-powered companies entering the home care market. GE, Intel, Google, IBM, Microsoft have all recently entered the home-health monitoring arena. This is serious stuff for telehealth initiatives, and one can only assume that the introduction of corporate backing into an arena that’s been here-to-fore largely neglected will have some significant impact. Check out these links for more information on this subject.

Do you think these companies are serious about this initiative? Check out this quote from Intel President and CEO, Paul Otellini:

“Most of the healthcare discussions today focus on the integration of more technology into traditional healthcare settings. While those investments are necessary and will create a more efficient healthcare system, it is not sufficient to meet the growing needs that are about to impact a system that is already at a saturation point. The GE and Intel partnership will not only help seniors and the chronically ill, but will also take a giant step forward in changing how healthcare is delivered.”

The current health system is in trouble. It may be that a big part of the fix will be by companies who are outside of the traditional health system, who see entrepreneurial opportunities to offer reform. Let’s hope so, because the physician-controlled model that we’ve been operating under doesn’t seem too eager to change.


So how does this impact physical therapy? There’s been an increasing presence in the body of scientific literature from a rehabilitative perspective, some articles even coining the term, “telerehabilitation.” However, most of these initiatives don’t mention physical therapy, focusing more on medical management of patients. Some state practice acts even have barriers in place that might prohibit physical therapists from performing off-site healthcare delivery. The physical therapy profession needs to be open and ready for these changes, and eager and capable of embracing the technological advances that will be part of a new model of healthcare. We also need to be better connected to these corporate initiatives. We might even need an iPhone app, as Selena Horner pointed out on the EIM blog.

By the way, last week I attended a talk on technical writing at the Refresh Augusta meeting. Part of that talk focused on localization of language, or making your writing appeal to different groups of people. One strategy offered by the speaker was to always use the first definition of a word, and avoid common slang.  Well, as part of my research for this post, I’ve discovered a very terrible example of what can happen when these rules are not followed. Check out this image!

One Reply to “Healthcare is Coming Over”

  1. Some comments on 'telerehabilitation' from the UK…..

    Patients in the UK have had direct access to physiotherapists for as long as I can remember. However more recently the popular adoption of self referral has increased the use of the telephone as a means of accessing physiotherapy. In some parts of the UK, clinics and NHS departments offer a telephone triage service where patients are able to access the physiotherapy service for assessment and advice. Thus, in situations where there are waiting lists for an appointment (which is inevitable unless you are privately funding) it is possible to offer more timely advice and support which also allows the patient to take ownership of their own condition and recovery. The success of this type of service has lead to The Medical Research Council funding what is thought to be one of the UK’s biggest physiotherapy research trials. The £1million study will investigate the effectiveness of a physiotherapy telephone advice service across four primary care trusts!!

    More recently a UK physiotherapist has launched a practice on the internet offering advice and 'personalised' consultations to clients. Having also worked with the telephone advice service herself, she believes that her online model has advantages, such as the opportunity to consider responses, over that model. It seems that this health care model of direct access is embracing technology here in the UK!! I'll be interested to hear about the first legal dispute as a result of all this??

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