A Glimpse Into the Next 20 Years


The future of health care is at our doorstep.   Throughout the next 20 years, advances in medicine and technology will allow the industry to recalibrate its focus toward health and wellness strategies. PHYSICAL THERAPISTS have front row seats regarding these game-changing trends -- prevention, health coaching, personalized medicine, personal technology and a team approach will all share time on the playing field.

Prevention, first, will hopefully serve as a roadblock in the soaring costs of health care. Many insurance companies are now offering reimbursement, or have established a 100% payment for wellness programs. And, who is the best qualified to direct movement in our society regarding wellness? PHYSICAL THERAPISTS!  Many individuals seeking health care though a medical clinic are presenting with multiple issues from knee pain, to high blood pressure, to obesity.  We're here to help!

Health coaching presented through health care organizations, medical institutions, PHYSICAL THERAPY Clinics, and health clubs will assist by offering continued support to help people remain healthy. Alignments with corporations, which take an interest in their employees and keeping them physically well, shall increase with innovative approaches regarding their physical educational needs. It may even allow all types of working Americans to make the choice to live a longer, healthier life!

Personalized medicine should SOAR with new advances in health care and research-based decisions by the medical world.   Medicine will become more personalized with genetic advancements; these advances could lead to an increase in more individualized goal setting for patients. Currently, health care professionals are operating in a disease-management society -- hospitals are rewarded for keeping patients in house and staying full to capacity. Drug companies are compensated for successfully selling more drugs.  The shift to more personalized medicine will assist in keeping more people out of hospitals and, once again, who is highly qualified to take the “offensive approach” in this game-- PHYSICAL THERAPISTS!

Personal technology will help by offering the remote care needed to keep people out of hospitals. We are already noticing the trend toward “exercise prescription” on mobile devices, and the idea of providing general education and nutritional advice on these devices as well. The new, personal technology will expand to apps for modality uses that allow independent follow through at home.  Don’t get me wrong!  I am not advising that we remove the human factor from our approach to health care; I’m suggesting that we call a “time out” to be certain the technology is able to offer increased access but is driven and directed by educated, knowledgeable providers following appropriate, qualified assessments.

Especially in health care, this team approach is a winner in any setting.  With new advancements in appropriate technology enhancements, the treatment of the patient as an individual will be continuously improved. PHYSICAL THERAPY has positioned itself to be the catalyst to help propel our nation into a healthier game! Our profession has and will have unparalleled opportunities to take control of the health and wellness of our nation and, together, everyone will be winners within a healthier society!

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