As a young Physical Therapist growing in experience and knowledge I question our effectiveness in the healthcare setting. I don’t mean to generalize everyone, but I think we have lost the love for people. We have lost the sympathy and empathy on which healthcare was built on. Because of financial restraints we have cut the time spent with patients. Along with the time lost we have lost the ability to perform personalized care. I am not an exception and have been guilty of this; and with the loss of personalized treatment I believe that outcomes are not optimized. Being a healthcare professional does not only mean giving the right drug or correct treatment. By building an intimate relationship with your patient, a relationship of trust can actually enhance the affect of the drug or treatment provided. Yes, there is no research to show this, but through my clinical experience I have seen first hand that a combination of the right treatment and good relationship have positive outcomes. Conversely, the right treatment with flawed patient interaction showed poor clinical outcomes.
I don’t believe that we are going to heal everyone, but I do believe that we can optimize the quality of life and function of individuals with more TIME. I believe that with more individual time we can change peoples lives and we can ‘LOVE’ them more. We can be better at achieving the functional goals of the patient instead of priortitizing our own clinical goals with the time we have. I believe that with more time there will be less money spent overall and better utilization of our patients’ healthcare dollars.
In my young Physical Therapy practice there is a common trend of people coming to therapy only once a week. This is because with a one hour treatment focused on individualized care we are able to achieve the goals of the patient in a timely manner. People are, over time, paying less and also spending less time away from their overall ‘dysfuntion’. Individuals are optimizing their function and becoming an active part of society.
Our chronic population needs more individualized time as we are not only dealing with the physical affects of pain, but also the psychosocial aspects. We need to continue to challenge insurance companies on reimbursement for our respective skill sets. We are worth more!! We need to get back to patient centered healthcare where outcomes, quality of life and function are our primary goal. This is my utopia because I see it is possible with what I do on a daily basis. Patients and clients will testify to my ‘crazy talk!!’ The missing link to healthcare is not necessarily the next super drug, surgical technique or diet but rather the intangibles that cost us nothing. It is the eye contact, smile, attention, hug, holding of a hand… the list goes on! I challenge all those who are in healthcare to try this and see what your outcomes are. See the reaction that is driven from it.
Let’s love each other and the healing will follow.