I'm back and so here's a link


General apologies and regrets for the long delay between posts. One of the things I was up to was presenting at the annual APTA Conference in Baltimore with Tim Noteboom. I thought it might be nice to direct all those folks who I coerced into subscribing to my blog by way of a how-to demo to the slides from the presentation.

Here they are posted on my Physiopedia Page.


APTA Programming Satisfies Members

I've already talked about my experiences at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) on my other page, so I won't re-hash that, but I thought it pertinent to recap just how awesome the programming was. CSM is the premier confernce of the year for the profession, and there is just a ton of programming available. You could learn about almost anything you could think of…


Special thanks to my photographer, who had to endure a few shaken heads while getting the lighting just perfect.


Physical Therapists Move Forward

Move Forward PT

By far, the most exciting event at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in Las Vegas was the launch of a new brand for the profession. The brand itself is pretty slick, but the exciting part lies simply in the fact that this is the first time in the history of the profession that such a monumental effort to define physical therapy has been undertaken. 

Move Forward
Physical Therapists Bring Motion to Life
Most times that I think of a brand, things like Wal-Mart or McDonalds or Pepsi come to mind. Brands in these instances are logos and obviously very corporate. That type of brand will not work for a group of health professionals. What's needed is a definition, a spoken truth that comes across from all person and parts of the profession that conveys to everyone who's listening, just what that profession does. With that in mind, I do think the message linking physical therapists to motion is apt. We truly do live in the world of human motion and are experts without equal in this area. So yes, we are about motion, we help people move, and that motion brings quality into the lives of the people we serve. I will have no trouble telling people I'm an expert in motion…in fact, I already do (though whether or not they listen is a different story…).

Find Out about Physical Therapists
Physical Therapists who are APTA Members can check out the members only site which is chock full of useful information about the brand, market research, and contacts and talking points. Everyone else can check out the brand new website, MoveForwardPT.com. This site will be growing over the next year or so, hopefully adding more rich content for consumers.

Brand Criticisms
Some in the profession have expressed to me that they don't think the brand goes far enough in its mission to qualify us as the healthcare experts of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Absent from the brand is mentions of pain, diagnostic skills, and common conditions like stroke and low back pain. I do agree to an extent with this, though quickly looking through the websites I listed above, it's obvious that those issues are addressed. In essence, the broad nature of "motion" is adaptable by many of the different interests within the profession and so I think it stands a pretty good chance. Regardless, unless everyone plays the game, we won't be able to ever tell if it's a good brand or not.

The Bottom Line
There was much that happened at the confernce, and much about to happen in the profession. I'm excited. I truly believe that physical therapists are of enormous benefit to the healthcare system, but one that is currently very underappreciated. I'm eager for a change!


World Cancer Day: My Two Perspectives

Today, February 4, 2009 is World Cancer Day. Head over to the website for the Internation Union Againt Cancer to view a striking video and to find out more about their campaign to help promote a healthy, active lifestyle. It seems I've never stopped to take note of World Cancer Day before, but this year it seems more than appropriate.  

My Perspective
Cancer has touched my life before on several occasions, and was the cause of demise for more than one of my grandparents. I've followed Lance Armstrong's illness and subsequent world cycling domination and campaign from the start. I always purchased the breast cancer stamp, as if my 8 cents would offer some benefit. Still, I never really felt that I was effected by cancer, and I knew somehow I was lucky for that.

This past summer, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's been undergoing treatment and is doing well with a good prognosis, but through this process I've gotten a stark view of how truly tough cancer is, even for someone with a good prognosis. From the uncertainty during the diagnostic process to the painful, agonizing chemotherapy and the endless small battles one must endure, cancer is hard. My mother even lost her job due to her illness. Cancer rocks your world in a bad way, and its claws reach beyond the cancer patient into their family and friends. When one person suffers with cancer, many more suffer alongside. I think that's how it should be.

I've had other friends, and family members of friends, who are experiencing first hand interactions with cancer this year. For some reason it seems breast cancer is all around me this year. My friend and blog developer uber-geek, Jessica, has made a web page to keep friends and family apprised of her mother's progress that is ongoing. TogetherPink.com. She comes home from the hospital today!

To all my friends, family and aquaintances who are dealing with, or have dealt with cancer on some level, my thoughts are with you.

My Physical Therapist Perspective
One thing I've noted throughout my mother's treatment is the lack of partnership between the oncologists, surgeons, and physical therapists. As I sat at a chemo treatment with my mother I observed the suffering, weakened bodies all around me and I felt they needed formal guidance. Physical therapists can help maintain strength, mobility, descrease pain through motion, and even improve respiratory health and function through a variety of methods. We need to be right along side cancer patients and their physicians. We can do great benefit for these people. This is not happening yet on the scale that it should be. There needs to be a seamless partnership that serves as a non-obtrusive resource for patients suffering the effects of cancer.1215_breast_cancer

Integration of oncologic physical therapy is improving and physical therapist education includes more of this every year, but still no clinical specialization exists for the oncologic phsyical therapist. Very few among us are considered experts in this area, though the ones that are considered such are very good.

I will be more aware of this opportunity to help those suffering with cancer. I will begin a process to make myself more educated in this field, and I might even join the Oncology section of the APTA. For now, my efforts are best realized by offering this post and a couple links:

What are you doing to help? I think if you just stop and notice, it is a start.

Good luck with your continued recovery, Mom! 

Does the APTA get Web 2.0?

FireShot capture #20 - 'Moving Forward' - movingforwardapta_blogspot_com

Kudos to the APTA for reaching out to connect with members via a blog!  I'm eager to see who/what will be posted.  However, I'm also left to wonder how much the blog writers actually "get" the concepts of blogs and Web 2.0.  The holding page encourages us to "bookmark" the page, lacks a blog roll, and includes the legal verbage, "This content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form…"

The US Department of State includes legal language on their blog that is less restrictive!

I get that this is a holding page…a draft perhaps.  Blogs can be a powerful tool and an excellent form of communication, but blogs are about open information sharing, linking to and from other blogs and websites, and embracing the concepts of Web 2.0.  Good luck, APTA, I wish your blog good luck and many readers.


Insurance Report Cards

ReportcardRecently the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a report card on the nation’s health insurance providers.  The report indicated that 14% of physicians’ total revenue was spent to collect their claims.  Not paying at the contracted rate was a big problem, with United Healthcare leading the way. 

"Physicians are spending 14 percent of their total revenue to simply
obtain what they’ve earned," said Dr. William Dolan, an AMA board

I wonder if physical therapists created the same report, would that 14% number be much higher simply because they "earn" much less than physicians.  If it takes 2 office staff to submit and collect claims, and they are paid similarly in physical therapist and physician offices, and the PT bills $100 per patient, but the physician bills $200 per patient…well?

If that case is true, then physical therapists should be under more pressure to upgrade to more efficient record and claims systems, in addition to the everlasting battle to gain more leverage in negotiations with insurance providers.

I would love to see the APTA report card on insurance!  Perhaps, in conjunction with next year’s AMA report.

Where Did the APTA Go?

The entire APTA website has been down for more than 30 minutes!  Yikes.  How do I know what The Bottom Line is if I can’t log in? 

Here’s a call to have login at the PT Journal live at the PT Journal website.  I hate the 5 step process requried to log in to the PT Journal site.  And why does the APTA not automatically direct me back to my intended content at PTJ?  It makes me tell it again where I was headed with the "Click here to continue" or "Click to go the the home page" option.  Obviously the website knows what I wanted, just give it to me!

Marketing The Profession?

If any readers of this blog do not read the Evidence in Motion blog, go read this post for some thoughts on how to, and how not to market the profession.

My two-cents can be illustrated in two additional links.

The first, at BEAPT.ORG, is the video embedded below. 

Obviously, this is an APTA marketing video designed to attract people into the profession.  While I admit I skimmed through some of it (10 min was just a bit too long), I was careful to look for anything that remotely resembled a PT treating low back pain.  I did find it at about the 5th minute for 10 seconds or so, without being specifically mentioned.  I don’t know why I thought it would be.  We never treat low back pain, and most physical therapists are not employed in outpatient orthopaedic settings, right?

The second example is a little more on target.  It is an opinion letter written by APTA President, Scott Ward on the USA Today website.  In the piece he mentions high-value issues for our profession and, in plain language, promotes the physical therapists.  This is good grass-roots marketing, though perhaps one without great reach.


Stanley Swims, Floats Research


Stanley Paris, swimmer extraordinaire, is undertaking an attempt to become the oldest person ever to swim the English Channel at the tender age of 70.  Details of the swim and his training can be found on his blog, Paris on La Manche.  You’ve just got to love the swimming cap!

Dr. Paris is swimming in support of the Foundation for Physical Therapy, and so by donating some $$ you can help further research efforts for the profession.  [Link via APTA]

Paris, the founder of the University of St. Augustine, one of the founding members of AAOMPT, expert functional anatomist and physical therapist can hopefully add this new feat to his long list of interesting and notable accomplishments.

Good Luck, Stanley Paris!

Oh Brother! Still the Wii?

My fear of having non-fitness personnel take up the profession of Wiihab is coming closer to fruition as Nintendo has announced a Fitness package which will include a balance board.  Nintendo itself is spearheading the effort into the fitness industry.

The APTA is very typically all excited about this gimmick and announced their new love affair in this week’s news:

for an upcoming article in the May issue of
PT Magazine about PTs who have used the Wii as part of
patient care."

How many people in the world can do Wiihab without having to spend time getting a doctoral degree?  Exactly!  So should this be something physical therapists do?  This is very similar to going to see a physical therapist and getting put on an exercise bike for a half hour.  Yes, within our scope of practice, but not good practice.  If I was a patient and hurt my shoulder only to be put on a Wii-regimen…well, I’m not coming back.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.