As people continue to have more choices for their own health care, physical therapists can emphasize the crucial role their services play in patients’ recoveries. Some people deal with chronic pain for a long time before seeking treatment, and they have multiple options when they decide to see a doctor. The first step for many patients is to see their primary care physician, and then some doctors will refer patients for an MRI before recommending anything else.
The key role of physical therapy in wellness and cost savings
A study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health found patients who sought an MRI before exploring other options were likely to spend $4,793 more than those who were referred for physical therapy. Whether patients paid for the MRI out of pocket or it was covered by insurance, patients who got an MRI were more likely to seek injections or surgery, which was why they faced higher costs.
While MRIs are an effective diagnostic tool, they reveal normal changes in the spine that happen over the course of a lifetime. These conditions can often be treated without surgical intervention, but many patients are affected by the results, according to the Washington Post. An MRI alone can cost up to $1,500, and even though this test is frequently covered by insurance, many patients have copays or must meet deductibles. This is a significant concern as more people have high-deductible plans. The researchers cited other studies that found there was no clear benefit of an MRI for lower back pain unless there were specific symptoms of a condition.
Physical therapy may be less expensive than surgery.
How can physical therapists use this in their marketing?
As wellness and improving patient outcomes become more significant in the health care sector, physical therapy has multiple benefits. Physical therapists aim to find the cause of back pain and provide education on what patients can do to avoid it. Therapy is more hands-on than surgery and allows patients to take more active roles in their own care, which helps them in the long term.
Physical therapists can use this information to their advantage and provide informational materials to potential patients. Emphasize the benefits of physical therapy and its place in the health care continuum in your online marketing. Because some people may be motivated to research their options before making a decision, online marketing with preventative tips may help patients with their decisions.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.