Our Profession Owes You an Apology

When an individual has a heart related condition, they see a cardiologist… When an individual has a skin related condition, they see a dermatologist… When an individual has a cancer related condition, they see an oncologist.

In every area of our lives we search for the experts, why should physical therapy be any different?

The quality of care we have come to expect from the physical therapy profession has become so low that the assumption is that all physical therapy is the same; however, this could not be further from the truth. When a physical therapist graduates from school, in a sense, they become a “jack of all trades”. They have a very broad knowledge base making them novices in all aspects of physical therapy including orthopedics, pediatrics, acute care rehab, neurological, spine,  sports rehabilitation, etc; similar to how graduates of medical school have developed a foundation of cardiology, neurology, immunology, etc. The major difference between medical school and physical therapy school, is that for the majority of physical therapists, the structured training ends after PT school, unlike medical school graduates who then advance to a multiyear residency program focused on a singular specialty, often followed by fellowship training to further specialize.

As any orthopedic surgeon would agree, not until the residency and/or fellowship programs do they become confident in providing the quality of care necessary to make measurable improvements for their patients.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

– Bruce Lee

Why don’t more physical therapists undergo additional training?

The unfortunate, but honest answer is that it’s not required and patients aren’t demanding that their physicians refer them to the experts. Most patients do not search for the best physical therapy clinic to attend and often go wherever the doctor recommends. Unfortunately, many of these referral decisions are based on location, personal relationships, or financial ties with that clinic. Furthermore, Less than 10% of physical therapists have completed a post graduate residency program and less than 2% of physical therapists have completed a manual therapy fellowship program, so the public often does not even know these residency and fellowship programs exist.

Does this mean that you can not be a good quality PT without completing a residency or fellowship program? 

Definitely not. I know quite a few good PT’s who have not completed residency and fellowship training, but I know for a fact that  these same PT’s would love to  complete a residency program if the costs were not so high, the time demands were not so much,  if their employers were more supportive, and if insurance reimbursement was paid based on results.

How is OSSPT any different?

First, every one of our therapists has completed fully accredited advanced orthopedic and/or sports residency programs. Also, our physical therapists have completed or are actively completing a manual therapy fellowship program to further improve his/her skills. Additionally, our company is independently owned by the same physical therapists treating you in the clinic with no outside influence by any hospitals, medical groups, or corporations, so patients can take a lot of confidence in knowing that the only reason physicians recommend us is based on the quality of care we provide and our excellent results. Finally, we are such strong advocates of residency and fellowship training that we cover the entire cost to complete the programs for all new physical therapy employees.

Moving forward, I challenge you, the patients, to demand more from us. Do your homework and seek a higher level of physical therapy care. We spend hours debating the best restaurants to eat, searching the internet for the best shopping deals, and researching the best physicians and surgeons, then blindly go to the nearest physical therapy clinic to our home/work without thinking twice. Ask friends for recommendations, ask your physician if they have any financial ties to the clinic they are referring, drive the extra 5 minutes to receive a superior level of care, understand you have a right to choose where you want to attend physical therapy.

If you have the choice of a superior level of care, for the same price, with the same therapist each visit, why not choose OSSPT? If you have more questions or would like to specifically discuss your case please reach out to me personally at Jeff@OSSPT.com or call us at 405.735.8777 to schedule an evaluation.

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