I’ve long thought that we as human beings should be getting regular physical fitness check-ups. Fitness has been proven as a factor in so many disease processes from the obvious– obesity– to other not-so-obvious but truly scary diseases– some cancers. Fitness helps keep your heart and mind healthy as well. So why don’t we as a society get our fitness levels checked on a regular basis? Oh. That’s right. Because most of us recognize that our fitness levels are… not on par, shall we say? However, when did running from a problem ever solve it? Correct answer: Never.
Now, we physical therapists are perfectly educated to provide this service. So why don’t we? I think this could be a great niche for us to get into: the annual physical fitness check-up. The only thing in the way: ourselves. Physical therapists are notoriously terrible at marketing. Shoot, we can’t even market what we currently do. The average Joe Schmoe has no idea what kind of services a physical therapist provides. Heck, even the dentists (with doctorates) that live next door to me thought physical therapists were personal trainers. We as a profession get an F in marketing. This topic is a whole other post, that I won’t go into just right now…
IF we could get ourselves marketed better and we added the annual checkup to the services we provide, it would be a great way to market ourselves in our own communities. We could become our own referral source in finding movement deficits in these annual exams or perhaps even save a life in referring on to other providers if we spot something problematic that isn’t in our scope– like say an unusually large and varied color mole.
Besides that, we know we are the best movement analysts out there. Who better to make sure everyone’s fit? It would be an uphill battle in today’s couch potato world, but a worthy calling, I’d say.
Here’s a link for APTA’s suggested annual adult physical therapist exam. Geriatric and pediatric exams are currently being developed.
According to the link there, this would currently be a cash based service, as Medicare and therefore no insurance would currently pay for this service. However, it the public got to a point in the future where they expected this service and we’ve made ourselves indispensable in this area, they’d be forced to pay.