Hey there! Today I am going to touch on a topic, though a huge passion of mine is somewhat difficult to explain to people, even to those within the healthcare field. And that is population health and being a lifestyle physical therapist.
This past week, I was fortunate enough to spend four high-quality days with Mike Eisenhart and his team at Pro-Activity and Base Camp 31 and witness all the many things that they do. I'll tell you right now that traditional physical therapy is about 20% of their operations, so if you're stuck in the mindset of that's only what a physical therapist does, this post may not be for you. However, my hope is that this will be an eye-opener for you if so.
As some of you may know, Pro-Activity operates under five key elements consisting of Move, Fuel, Recover, Endure, and Connect. All of which are beautifully integrated into several different models or programs, as you may wish to call them. There's the average Joe looking to live a healthy life, your teenage athlete looking to improve performance, your individual struggling with metabolic conditions, and lastly the blue collar employee that doesn't know you're there to improve his/her quality of life.
None of these approaches have a single focus. They're not geared towards preventing only musculoskeletal injury. And you know why? Because as a physical therapist you can do more than strengthen some quads, perform a manipulation, and walk your patient down the hall. You have the skill set to change lives. You have the power to reinvent the way someone lives and the ability to facilitate a much higher quality of life for them, their family, and their friends.
As a physical therapist, I strive to make a difference, to change lives, and to help the population as a whole. This approach isn’t something easy, nor enjoyable at times, but if you’re a physical therapist because you genuinely want to help people, you would love being a lifestyle physical therapist. You shouldn’t be solely focused on correcting a dysfunction or biomechanical impairment; you should be treating the person as a whole. And as a whole, that individual deserves education beyond movement patterns and exercise prescription; they deserve an approach that sets them up for life.
Now is the opportunity to change not only the profession but also the lives of the people you encounter. Population health is possible and as a physical therapist, you should be striving to provide more. And if for whatever reason you feel ill-prepared on a topic, please know that referring to another healthcare provider is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of excellent patient/ client care.
If you're someone who wants to change and improve the population's health and well-being, please reach out! Mike can be contacted on Twitter @mikeeisenhart or at email@example.com
- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT