We exist to get people better and make happy patients. To that end, we want to help PCPs with their musculoskeletal patients.
In Wales they are piloting placement of physiotherapists directly into general practices.
Results from the nine-month trial in four practices found a 16% reduction in referrals to hospital-based services. And nearly 2,000 appointments were made directly with the physiotherapists which would have otherwise been made with the GP, saving time for the GP and the patients, and money for the system.
"…placing physical therapists into primary care practices saves time for the general practitioners and reduces referrals to “hospital-based services” by 16 percent, saving the system money"
In the US we know that only about 7 to 11 percent of patients with low back pain who see their PCP end up accessing a physical therapist.1 The rates are similar, if not lower for other musculoskeletal conditions.
Given the current issues with PCPs being overloaded and the challenges around managing pain and musculoskeletal issues with medications, we think more people should be assessed and helped by physical therapists. Not only can physical therapists help manage pain through treatment and activity, but they are often able to address the root cause of the problem, providing a solution that is not temporary or a “patch”.
And we don’t think we need to wait for the Government or the Hospitals to catch up. There are ways to implement this type of solution in your practice today.
What do you currently do with patients with low back pain? What about for patients with neck pain, ankle sprains, or arthritis?
What percentage of your practice is musculoskeletal?
Do you have a good sense of what physical therapists can actually do to assess and help these patients?
If you are interested in having a conversation with us about how we might be able to help in your practice, please contact our offices or Sturdy McKee directly at 415.350.3663.
- Fritz JM, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Flynn TW. Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: Impact on future health care utilization and costs, 2012.Spine 2012; 25:2114-21.