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There are several new goals and modifications to existing physical therapy trends that have been proposed by American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) under its Vision 2020 strategy.
For instance, one of the tenets of Vision 2020 is autonomous practice. The APTA Board has said that autonomous practice applies to all physical therapists regardless of their practice setting or business arrangement. Autonomous practice means that a physical therapist is entitled to independent and professional judgment within the scope of her practice and in the patient’s best interest. The therapist has to take responsibility and accept the risks for all aspects of physical therapy patient management. Physical therapists have the right to collaborate with other health care providers to provide value-additions to the services to their clients. At the same time, they are committed to using the best available scientific evidence for client management. All therapists need to adhere to applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
APTA has issued specific guidelines relating to the physical therapy trends of ‘telehealth’. “Telehealth” is defined as the “use of electronic communication to provide and deliver a host of health-related information and health care services, including, but not limited to, physical therapy-related information and services over large and small distances”. In this definition, examples of electronic communication include text messaging, e-mailing, faxing, using such devices as cell phones, fax machines, and the Internet.
As per the directives, services provided via telehealth must adhere to the basics of professional health care in accordance with APTA standards. They must also ensure that the patient is as safe as she would have been if the physical therapist had been there to advise her in person.
APTA plans to post resources on their website for members to understand the various aspects of telehealth for physical therapy.
Women’s heath has been voted as a specialty area for physical therapy by the APTA Board. These physical therapy trends have major implications for setting up physical therapy clinics specifically catering to women.
The APTA Board has made every physical therapist responsible for contributing patient data to support that she practices physical therapy. The data should be collected in such a way that it can be collectively analyzed when required.
Each of these goals will definitely impact physical therapy businesses in making them more evidence-based. Each of these physical therapy trends will help to make physical therapy as a practice, more independent and autonomous.