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!