From day one, our goal at WebPT has been fairly straightforward: to create the most innovative, comprehensive, efficient and affordable rehab therapy solution on the market. However, when we first introduced our EMR platform to the physical therapy industry, 80% of clinicians were still using pen and paper to document patient information. Thus, education became a core component to our outreach efforts and business strategy, and remains a top priority to this day.
Over the years, our educational content has helped us become more than just a technology company—it has provided us with a platform to fill a gap in the industry for therapy professionals seeking to improve both their clinical and business practices. Through our blog posts, webinars, downloads, industry reports, and annual business summit, we’ve been able to aggregate and share mission-critical information to as many therapists as possible to drive meaningful change throughout our industry.
As such, our data collection efforts play a vital role in our ability to disseminate the information required to help therapists better run their businesses, advocate for their industry, and create greater public awareness of physical therapy’s value. And we’ve been working to scale our data collection and intelligence efforts to advance our profession in two main ways: by increasing our market share and hiring top-tier data scientists to hone a long-term strategic plan that no one in the rehab therapy space will be able to compete with.
More Market Share, More Data, More Influence
WebPT’s acquisition of Clinicient and Keet was a big one, there’s no denying it. I talked a lot about what our motivations were behind this acquisition, as well as what our blended goals are for the company and industry at large in a previous Founder Letter. However, I’d like to discuss in further detail what our heightened market share really means for the profession in terms of our data collection and sharing methods.
Data to the Rescue
As it stands, we have a laundry list of challenges impacting our profession’s success. Chief among these is our lack of market penetration. In other words, we know how great rehab therapy is, but we continue to have a hard time proving it. Why? Because we don’t have enough readily available data to prove it. And that which we do have can be difficult to source and apply to practice.
So, the first step of improving our industry’s data issues is to collect more and share it on a wide scale. Combined, WebPT, Clinicient, and Keet have the largest contiguous data set for physical therapy in the country—possibly the world. If you look at our market footprint, collectively, we have more than half of the clinical charting data for physical therapy. This means that with our heightened market share there is more opportunity for us to influence legislative bodies, referral sources, and the general media, and prove that our industry value can align with patients’ interests and needs.
The Bigger Picture
This data sharing also sets us up to partner with other healthcare stakeholders to glean different trends impacting the health and wellness of our population overall. A recent example of how the public and private sector are working together to improve care is the partnership between PointClickCare, a software platform that holds 70% in the skilled nursing arena, and the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In October of 2021, PointClickCare announced that “it was selected by the [CDC] to provide a key data source for understanding COVID-19 and other threats impacting residents of long-term care facilities.”
Together, these entities are able to pool their data and resources together to have a larger and longer impact on post-acute COVID-19 care—something the US Government Accountability Office estimates will impact between 7.7 and 23 million people. In turn, this data exchange can have a much broader impact on how our nation better addresses public health priorities in the future (e.g., analyzing disease patterns, evaluating treatments and interventions, conducting and monitoring public health surveillance).
Similarly, rehab therapists have long understood the broader impact their medical expertise can have on improving the health of populations. However, to claim our place in fostering better health (at a lower price point) at the population level, patient outcomes data must reach a higher priority with clinicians and become more accessible at scale. With our expanded market share, WebPT is making some tremendous strides to help ensure our industry is equipped to do this. We want our Members to be able to make better decisions about their patients at the time of care which can drive better outcomes and, ultimately, better demonstrate the value of their practice.
Making the Data Work
Having all of this therapy-specific data on hand is great—but if we’re unable to interpret it, it’s meaningless. So, WebPT has invested heavily in rebuilding its data architecture to support the current business and future growth over the last six months. In addition to leveraging internal resources and working with a leading consulting firm on this project, we’ve retooled our leadership structure to match our data and analytics goals in this next chapter.
I’d like to spend some time now talking about a few of the individuals driving our data democratization efforts, and specifically, what they’re doing to make the data work for our Members, our company, and our industry.
Greg Ingino, Chief Technology Officer
We welcomed Greg Ingino as our Chief Technology Officer in August 2021. Ingino is responsible for creating intelligence through the use of WebPT’s data to help our Members make better clinical, operational, and business decisions.
Ingino has more than two decades of experience working in data-driven product innovation across a number of industries. Most recently, Ingino was the Chief Technology Officer at Vertafore, the largest provider of insurance solutions on the market. During his time there, he helped to create intelligence-level application program interfaces (APIs) that integrate with other applications so that users can reach in and extract the data they need within those interfaces in real-time. This enhanced data exchange ultimately helped drive better outcomes, higher revenues, and reduced costs for their customers.
Ingino and his team are now applying these same strategies to our products’ data intelligence and reporting functions.
“We’re currently working on organizing and storing the data that we have so that we can enhance it with real data science through APIs,” said Ingino. “And once we can build those APIs, we can begin to provide our Members with the insights required to improve their referral networks, increase the number of patients they see in a given day, and reduce their no-show rates. I’m particularly excited about this last part. Imagine booking a patient for their next appointment in your scheduling application and being able to pull up an API to see the percentage chance that they’ll no-show and why. That’s the level of data intelligence we’re after.”
This is just a taste of what machine learning can do when applied specifically toward clinical gains. There’s an entire industry out there that can benefit from these deeper, more accessible insights.
“We can apply this type of technology on a broader scale to prove physical therapy’s value, which is where Keet’s outcomes data will be most effective,” explained Ingino. “Combined with WebPT’s data, we can use Keet’s data to eventually justify PT treatment and even predict outcomes, which means we can tell patients how much more likely they are to recover from an injury if they were to receive PT rather than if they weren’t. This data is especially powerful once we share it with referring providers, self-insured companies and eventually payors. Being able to expose APIs and data models, and allowing Members to consume that, we can become a true data service provider for the rehab therapy space.”
Brian McCullough, Principal Data Scientist
An integral member of Ingino’s team is Brian McCullough, a Principal Data Scientist for WebPT. In this role, McCullough is responsible for building a highly accessible, service-oriented data model to fuel our predictive and prescriptive data capabilities. In turn, this will help our Members identify opportunities to optimize care delivery at a lower cost.
Before joining WebPT, McCullough worked as Clincient’s Principal Data Scientist, where he built a robust internal database, engineering foundational elements coupled with highly scalable team workflows to efficiently build advanced database technologies. As such, McCullough and his team were able to drill deeper into and extract service-oriented data science, which was then run through machine learning algorithms to uncover patterns and predictions. These predictions could then be used by therapists to make better business and clinical decisions, improve the quality of their services, and enhance the quality of patients’ lives at scale.
McCullough is looking forward to implementing a similar strategy at WebPT: “What I’m most excited about is our collective opportunity to leverage the power of data and predictive analysis to improve the quality of life for our Members’ patients, driving better health outcomes overall.”
Russell Olsen, Chief Product Officer
Russell Olsen, our Chief Product Officer, has been with us since 2017. In that time, Olsen has made a significant impact on WebPT and its Members with a product innovation model he dubbed the “Golden Thread of Health Care.” Through the model, Olsen galvanized his team to gain insights into patient behavioral profiles and motivators that providers could use to successfully navigate change intervention and effectively address practical barriers to delivering value-based, preventative care. Through this process, we’ve been able to identify and develop the tools providers needed to implement feedback patient loops, make data-driven decisions, and ultimately improve clinical outcomes and bottom-line revenues.
Before joining WebPT, Olsen was the Vice President of Offering Management at IBM Watson Health (previously Truven Health) where he inspired the creation of—and then launched—Watson Care Manager for IBM Watson Health across multiple markets. Additionally, Olsen led innovation and product management for Phytel, where he developed and orchestrated a product portfolio that resulted in the company’s growth and emergence as a market leader in provider-led population health (as well as its ultimate acquisition by IBM Watson Health).
“During my time with these two companies, we looked for ways to optimize and share data with providers and caregivers so that they could identify opportunities to impact the cost of care and quality of life for all patients,” said Olsen. “To do all this, though, you need a large enough data set to derive the necessary insights, which is what makes WebPT’s acquisition of Clincient and Keet most exciting to me.”
By joining forces with Clinicient, a company with a prominent presence in the mid-sized therapy space, and Keet, whose PRM, outcomes, and MIPS solutions are unmatched, we can effectively combine our data to solve more problems for more people in the industry.
“My plan and vision for helping our Members deliver an amazing patient experience and journey relies heavily on how we ensure provider workflows—front office, clinical, and back office—are seamless,” explained Olsen. “Keet especially has done a lot of forward-thinking approaches in this area. They’ve built a lot of directionality toward that, and our aim is to sustain and amplify this so that we are the premier outcomes and quality improvement platform in value-based care.”
Kayla C De Baca, Sr. Product Manager
Central to Olsen’s team is Kayla C De Baca, a Sr. Product Manager who is responsible for identifying the best ways to leverage our growing data set to enable our Members to make key changes within their organizations, as well as within the industry at large.
Prior to leading the vision for how WebPT leverages data, C De Baca spent more than four years partnering with WebPT Members to ensure they’re able to effectively use WebPT’s products to run their businesses. During this time, she learned the ins and outs of their practice workflows and the common struggles they faced at both an organizational and industry-wide level. This has prepared C De Baca to play an integral role in defining predictive data models that will provide our Members with ways to streamline their operations and take proactive measures to avoid negative outcomes.
“By having the largest data set in the industry, we’re in a unique position to provide our Members with well-informed insights that will allow them to better lead their companies, retain top-notch staff, provide better patient care, and make strategic business decisions that will continue to advance the rehab therapy industry,” said C De Baca. “I’m most excited about being at the helm of this much-needed change within our industry, and to help clinicians use this data to prove the value we know rehab therapy provides!”
For more than a decade, WebPT has led the market in cutting-edge patient documentation, patient relationship management, and billing services in outpatient rehab therapy. But now, with the addition of Clinicient and Keet along with the strides we are taking internally to enhance our data infrastructure, we are on the brink of something truly revolutionary. Through better data collection and sharing methods, we can equip our therapists with the knowledge required to make a bigger difference in their patients’ lives, a greater impact within their communities, and forge a more prominent (and permanent) place for themselves within the greater healthcare continuum. And I can’t be more excited to watch this process as it continues to unfold.