#PhysicalTherapy Hashtag Project 2.0

With #CSM2013 only days away, #physicaltherapist twitter chat relating to the conference will continue to increase. Quotes, links, pictures, and thoughts relating to #CMS2013 will spawn far ranging discussion. Individuals will participate remotely from all over the world. I anticipate the traffic on the #CSM2013 stream to be massive given the increase in physical therapists, students, and other disciplines engaging twitter professionally.

In #PhysicalTherapy Hashtag Project, I discussed hashtags in physical therapy specifically and healthcare in general. I also outlined some proposed hashtags for  the PT tweetsphere. These were meant to categorize links, discussion, and comments regarding specific practice areas and topics including sports, pain, acute care, business, advocacy, and research science. A nice discussion evolved both in the comments section, and on twitter inspiring me to create a follow up post based on the conversation.

The Healthcare Hashtag Project on Symplur continues to curate information relevant to various aspects of healthcare and various professionals within healthcare. Of course, much of the information is also important for public health and patients. Interestingly, the #DPTstudent and #solvePT tweetchats rank 5th and 7th respectively in trending tweetchats. #Rehab generally is 15th on the list of trending hashtags. Impressive! The four main categories of organization are hashtags, tweet chats, conferences, and diseases. I envision this project growing in both scope and specificity to connect various professions (and patients!) while simultaneously allowing for more focused categorization within professions. As introduced in the Physical Therapy Hashtag post, specificity of hashtags for the physical therapist profession adds value to the twitter community. A great feature is a schedule of healthcare related tweet chats.

A while back, PT Think Tank’s Eric Robertson introduced the idea of a new PT hashtag #LivePT to capture statements and sentiments that were more appropriately branded outside the #solvePT tag and chat. Below is the revised list of hash tags. Please review and comment….

Practice Areas

  • #AcutePT
  • #CardioPulmPT
  • #GeriatricPT
  • #ManualPT
  • #NeuroPT
  • #OMPT
  • #OrthoPT
  • #PainPT
  • #PediPT
  • #PelvicMafia
  • #SportsPT
  • #WellnessPT

Other Topics

  • #bizPT
  • #brandPT
  • #cashPT
  • #PTadvoc
  • #PTscience
  • #PTtech
  • #therapycap

Students and Education

  • #PTedu
  • #DPTstudent

Global #physicaltherapy Hashtags

  • #LivePT
  • #PTfirst
  • #PThero
  • #SolvePT

Other Hashtags

  • #HCSM
  • #meded
  • #mHealth
  • #SocialOrtho
  • #SportsSafey

Tweet Chats


Is the list too long? Too short? What hashtags do you utilize and follow? Any tweet chats you participate in or follow? Remember to utilize both the #CSM2013 hashtag and topic specific hashtags for your Combined Section Meetings tweets! See you in San Diego. Tweet with you if not!


Going social in the APTA House of Delegates: RC 23-12

Next week, the American Physical Therapy Association House of Delegates will convene for the 2012 session.  This year’s House will discuss and vote on a number of motions, but – as a self-proclaimed social media junkie – one motion in particular has caught my attention.  The motion, introduced by the Washington Chapter, is known as RC 23-12 and proposes to set standards of conduct for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students who use social media.  The exact language of the motion is as follows:


Whereas, Physical therapists (PT), physical therapist assistants (PTA) and physical therapy students (students) must be knowledgeable regarding the principles of patient/client privacy, confidentiality and identifiable patient/client information as it relates to social media;

Whereas, PTs, PTAs, and students should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information. PTs, PTAs and students should monitor their social media presence to make certain that the information on their own pages and content posted about them is in concert with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant;

Whereas, PTs, PTAs, and students must be knowledgeable regarding employers’, educational institutions’, or clinical training sites’ published policies on personal social media sites;

Whereas, To uphold appropriate boundaries, PTs, PTAs, and students should consider having separate personal accounts;

Whereas, If a PT, PTA, or student sees content posted by a colleague that appears unprofessional, s/he has a responsibility to bring that content to the attention of the individual, so that the individual can remove or modify the content; and,

Whereas, PTs, PTAs and students can be held personally and legally responsible for their publicly made opinions and comments, even on personally maintained sites and pages;

Resolved, That physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students should demonstrate appropriate conduct in social media activities.

SS: Physical therapists (PT), physical therapist assistants (PTA), and students are using social media for professional/work/educational purposes, as well as personal interactions. The overlap creates potential conflicts in patient/client management. PTs, PTAs and students must understand that their online actions and content may negatively impact their reputation among patients/clients and colleagues, impact their careers and undermine trust in the profession of physical therapy. Conduct is defined as a verb to behave or manage (oneself); or to direct in action or course; manage. The PT, PTA and student must use appropriate conduct in the use of social media as the professional team. Currently, there are no APTA guidelines available for social media. APTA members are required to maintain patient privacy by following APTA’s Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant, their respective state practice acts, and HIPAA rules at all time, including social media.

Whether you are an APTA member or not (you should be, join here), this motion could have significant implications for those of us who are already using social media, as well as those who may consider communicating using social media in the future.  What are your thoughts?  Is it time for the APTA to formally address professional use of social media?  Does this motion fairly and accurately describe social media and its uses?  If you do not support RC 23-12 as written, what are your suggestions to amend this motion?  What would you add?  What would you remove?

I urge you to share your thoughts on RC 23-12 in the comments below, join the #RC23 conversation on Twitter, and contact your state APTA delegate(s) to let them know how you feel about RC 23-12.  As a Delegate for the Kansas Chapter, I plan to be a vocal participant in this discussion, and I will share your thoughts at the House.  There will be no better way for me to illustrate the power of social media at the House of Delegates than by citing our very own social media discussions of RC 23-12.

Make your voice heard.  Together, we can shape the future of our profession – one status update, tweet, post, or comment at a time.

[icon style=”notice”]Update: A lively Google+ Hangout and Twitter conversation on the #RC23 hashtag has been taking place.[/icon]

RC23-12 Discussion on Google+

Summary of #RC23 discussion on Twitter via Storify.

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Kendra Gagnon is a new contributor to PT Think Tank. A pediatric specialist, she’s on faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center and shares a common interest among PT Think Tank writers: she is a “self-proclaimed social media “junkie”, and uses technology and social media in the classroom to engage students and prepare them for using these technologies in the professional world.”

She blogs at Kendra Ped PT.

Medicare Physician Compare Fail

This scathing blog post by Michael Millenson concerning the U.S. Government’s new site to help patients locate Medicare providers caught my eye. Medicare’s new Physician Compare was designed to allow consumers to learn more about their providers. Here’s a little background on the site.

After reviewing the site and doing some searching for physical therapists, I have to concur with Millenson. The site is a bust. It should be re-named, “Pointless Partial List of Participating Providers.” I know they are planning to add more content over the next few years, but why start out with such nothing to begin with? It lacks patient-centric factors or any potential interactivity like maps or web-sites. It certainly doesn’t compare anything.

Sites like Healthgrades.com do a much better job of providing some form of information that’s useful, but where are physical therapists on these sites? Consumers are presently lacking a good site to compare providers of physical therapy. As a profession, we can’t leave it up to big Physician sites or the federal government. We need to actively reach out to consumers and show them who we are. Thoughts?


How about we start blogging again here at NPA Think Tank! I’m off to my favorite conference of the year, the Annual Conference of The American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

I’ll be presenting on physical therapy in the evolving healthcare landscape. For now, here is my current landscape, the clouds over Atlanta.

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!

Hands are Human, Use Them!


I'm an advocate of most things technology, and certainly appreciative of the Health 2.0 concept, whereby web tools are changing the way healthcare is delivered.  I'm also a fan of hands-on techniques and thorough physical examinations.  I was inspired by a couple blog posts to make sure that as much as we can talk about technology, the key, perhaps the most healing part of treating patients, is the human interaction.  

Larry at EIM discussed the effects that using laptops in the clinic had on patient satisfaction, and the Healthcare Blog discusses the humanizing role of the physical examination.  

One of my favorite things about physical therapy is the personal, one-on-one relationships that develop during treatment.  We spend time with patients.  We use manual techniques.  It's probably good to remember that as technology pushes us, and provokes change, the reason we're here is to get some healing done. And, for that purpose I have found no better tool than my hands.


Do You Do Health 2.0?

In this time of increasing health costs, falling numbers of paying patients, and overall health-related economic strain, one portion of the health sector seems to be on the move.

An estimated 60 million Americans are can be found partaking in some sort of Health 2.0 activities. This is defined as:

"Health 2.0 consumers are defined as consumers who have conducted one of the following activities in the past 12 months: read health-related blogs, message boards or participated in health-related chatrooms; contributed or posted health content online such as: writing or commenting on a health-related blog, adding or responding to a topic in a forum or group, or creating health related web pages, videos or audio content; used online patient support groups, message boards, chatrooms, or blogs."

Seems like a bit of a loose definition to me.  This would make any reader of my blog a Health 2.0 consumer…so…congratulations?  I'm thinking the definition might be better off including some sort of active intent with respect to one's health condition.  For example, reading my blog with the intent to learn more about selecting a physical therapist for your treatment.

Either way, Health 2.0 is the wave. It's time to get yourself up to speed on Al Gore's new internet. May I suggest starting by tracking the Flu Bug at Google!


Image Source: Uwe Reinhardt via NYT

Google has Health for All


Google finally unveiled Google Health.  It promises to be a whirl as the health care world decides what to do, and how to use Google Health.  I was looking through the site and experimented by adding some procedures and medications.  Certain providers like Walgreens allow for easy import of your prescription record.  I thought the menus were sort of easy, but I had trouble finding the fracture repair I was looking for.

The biggest influence of online medical records might just be the shift of control from physicians who have traditionally maintained records, to the patients who will use Google Health.  Will an army of newly informed patients be the driving force behind real and substantial change in health care?  I think it could be, but only time will tell.