High out-of-pocket costs. Inefficient care paths. Market Consolidation. Unfair payer and government policy.
I could probably draw out this list for several paragraphs, but you get the idea—there’s a lot that we, as rehab therapists, are up against. And most of it is seemingly out of our control.
If you pay attention to politics—and with the next election cycle already taking over national news headlines, it’s kind of hard not to—then you know that debate over healthcare reform is hotter than ever. But it’s nothing new; our nation’s leaders have been trying to “fix” the US healthcare system for years. And that quest, however noble it may be, has yielded only modest results.
A Society Held Back
The hard truth is that even though we have the privilege of living in one of the most prosperous nations in the world, many of us are living with pain and dysfunction that can seriously compromise our independence, mobility, overall physical condition, and ultimately, our quality of life. In fact, according to this resource, an “estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition—comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition—costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages.”
That’s $213 billion dollars that we—as rehab therapists—have the potential to influence and drastically reduce. That’s 126.6 million American lives that we have the opportunity to impact and improve. After all, we are, without a doubt, the neuromusculoskeletal experts; the rest of the world just doesn’t know it yet. Sometimes, it feels like we don’t even know it yet.
A Prime Opportunity
But, we do know it. Somewhere in the deepest corner of our minds, we all know that we haven’t truly reached our collective potential as a profession. But, we’re not thinking beyond that; we’re not thinking big enough. Unlike a lot of other healthcare disciplines, rehab therapy hasn’t even scratched the surface of what it’s capable of.
I’ve beat this drum before, and I’ll continue beating it until I have the whole world’s attention: 90% of those 126.6 million Americans—that’s nearly 114 million people—will never see a physical therapist. Instead, they’ll undergo riskier, costlier, more invasive treatments—like surgery or prescription pain medication—or, in some cases, they’ll simply go on living in pain. That’s absolutely devastating.
It’s also what motivates me to do what I do every day: help build the tools that rehab therapists need to change those statistics—to provide better care, achieve better outcomes, advocate for better payments and regulatory policies, build more successful businesses, and reach more of the 114 million patients who otherwise may spend their entire lives never really living.
A Shift in Perspective
The key word there is “change”—something that we, as a profession, tend to fear. And that’s sort of ironic, considering that we are, at our core, drivers of change. It’s essential to the rehabilitation process; it’s essential to progress. And it isn’t always linear.
Moving into the technology space has forced me to reckon with—and recognize the opportunity in—change. After all, change is inherent to innovation. As I’ve gotten more comfortable with it—and witnessed its power, when met with thoughtful and purposeful action—I have encouraged the rest of the rehab therapy community to embrace it as well. Whether it’s industry consolidation or the emergence of the value-based care movement, change is all around us. How we perceive and respond to it is up to us.
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A New Era for WebPT
At WebPT, we are constantly evolving our software and our company to keep pace with that change and the changing needs of our Members. We are proud to be the industry leader in our space, but we know that we’ve never truly “won”—there’s always room to do better. There’s always room to think bigger—to dream bigger.
At 80,000-plus Members strong, we are a force in rehab therapy. When WebPT’s voice becomes louder, rehab therapy’s voice becomes louder. And that is why I am so excited to share with all of you some incredible news: WebPT is now backed by Warburg Pincus, one of the top private equity firms in the world—and exactly the kind of force multiplier we need to raise that voice to a mighty roar.
Warburg Pincus has deep expertise in health care and technology with a pretty outstanding success story. And that’s a big deal for rehab therapy. We talked to them extensively about the 90% and the massive opportunity in front of rehab therapists—in front of all of us—to positively impact health care at scale. The Warburg Pincus team believes in that opportunity, in WebPT, and in our incredible Members.
With Warburg Pincus, WebPT can make even greater strides toward our mission of empowering rehab therapists to achieve greatness in practice—and expand our fight to reach the tens of millions of patients who could benefit from rehab therapy care. It’s an uphill battle, but one that we’re more equipped than ever before to take on. We know the potential of rehab therapy to change the face of health care, and we—Warburg Pincus and the entire WebPT team (me included; I’m not going anywhere!)—are going to work our asses off to make that potential a reality. We’ll have even more resources to give you more of what you want and need to make your individual business—and this amazing industry as a whole—flourish. We’ve been at it for more than a decade, but we’re nowhere near finished. So, trust that WebPT has your back for the long haul. We see you, we know you, we appreciate you, and we’re going to keep fighting for you.