As a physical therapist, you are probably well aware of the fact that many new trends are emerging within the industry that has the potential to completely transform the care of patients. These advancements are aiding in ensuring that care is easier to administer for practices and that it is more accessible for patients. In this brief guide, you will be introduced to several of the advancements that are expected to have a highly significant impact in 2023.

virtual reality

The Basics

In short, advancements in the physical therapy industry are emerging because of the operational shifts, restrictions, and complications that developed with the emergence of the pandemic resulting from COVID-19 and its subsequent variants. Now that healthcare is moving into the post-pandemic stage, client expectations are changing. As a result, we – as physical therapists – must adjust to those expectations.

Many changes have occurred and continue to occur, we must make preparations now to ensure that we are proactive – and not reactive – to those changes. This is the basis behind all advancements within the industry.

The Future of the Industry

All signs point to the consistent growth in the physical therapy industry. Our industry is expected to grow from over $50 billion to over $72 billion. The pandemic resulted in a 13% decline.

Despite that, employment in the PT sector is expected to grow up to 17% by the year of 2031. That means over 40,000 new therapists will be added to the field. This is due to evolving client expectations, the prevalence of diseases impacting the musculoskeletal system, sports injuries, and even reimbursement policies as outlined by insurance companies.

phone health app

Top Advancements

The following outlines the top advancements within the physical therapy industry. By integrating these advancements within your practice, you are sure to find that you have a competitive edge within the industry:

  1. Motion Capture Technology – As we all know, movement is essential – in terms of pain management – for our patients. Today, telehealth therapy, wearable technological devices, and similar forms of motion capture technology are increasing in popularity. These devices track and effectively log movements to ensure that the wearer achieves an optimal level in general range of motion. As a physical therapist, you should integrate these into your practice. They may then be linked to apps that may be programmed. In short, they help in creating a personalized type of care plans for patients.
  2. 3D Movement Technology – The next technological advancement available to physical therapy practices is referred to as “3D Diagnostic Movement” or “3DM” for short. This works to assess the body of a patient while they move or during activities where they bear weight. Data is then transmitted so that we may identify the underlying causes of pain and/or restrictions in mobility. The best part is, the assessment only takes about 10 minutes – from beginning to end. The care plan that may be created from the information gleaned from the device will allow you to create a care plan that aids in correcting muscular-based imbalances in the body and prevent further injuries from occurring.
  3. Virtual Reality – In 2019, a study was conducted that measured those with Parkinson’s disease that experienced complications with their balance/gait while using virtual reality. It was established that each individual benefited from optimized performance more than traditional PT exercises. Additionally, the participants enjoyed using virtual reality systems much better than traditional PT practices. This type of technology is highly beneficial in helping motor control, balance, and coordination. Whether it is a neurological or muscular disorder, virtual reality is highly effective. Imagine offering your patients the excitement of a highly stimulating virtual environment to better themselves – such as skiing adventures and those that are similar in nature. As you can imagine, they are sure to enjoy it!
  4. Robotics for Rehabilitation – There are now specially-designed robots that aid in physical therapy rehabilitation. These help in therapies to improve motor skills, comprehensive cognitive therapy, and even post-surgery interventions! You may have robots that specialize in neural rehabilitation, gait training, and even basic exercises and stretches! Many medical professionals have experienced success in helping people recover from strokes utilizing these amazingly advanced robotic systems. If you integrate these into your physical therapy practice, you are sure to have a competitive edge among practices in and around your area.
  5. Video Games – The next advancement that is sure to continue to emerge in physical therapy practices in 2023 and beyond is the utilization of video games. These games may be accessed and utilized on various platforms including VR machines, cell phone apps, consoles, and even technological gadgets that may be worn. The games offered have powerful, realistic graphics, highly engaging content, and built-in reward systems for participants. These games have proven to be exceptionally beneficial in pain management, disease management, motor performance, balance optimization, and more! Not only will your patients thoroughly enjoy the addition of video games in their physical therapy sessions, but they will also be more apt to complete their physical therapy care plan, which will boost the outcome of their rehabilitation.

Physical Therapy Burnout

We all know the problems associated with our field. The main ones are lack of enthusiasm among our patients, missed appointments, and lack of rehabilitative progress with our patients. However, there is one other that is quite prevalent in our industry and that is burnout among physical therapists.

This is both negative-based emotions associated with our work, physical exhaustion, and even mentally detaching from our professional responsibilities.

The good news is, there are many advancements that are designed to help in preventing burnout. These are practices, devices, and gadgets that help ensure satisfaction among employees by optimizing the workflow of a practice. If we experience burnout and it is not resolved quickly, it is our patients who suffer.

New advancements to help in preventing burnout include management software that is designed to automate and even streamline our day-to-day operations.

If you or your employees feel overwhelmed, it is best to integrate this type of technology into your practice in order to achieve higher levels of success within the industry.

physical therapy team network

Network Collaboration

One of the most significant of all advancements in the physical therapy field is the inclusion of a network dedicated to the profession. This is where we – Colorado Physical Therapy Network – come into play. Now, you can join us!

This is a specially-designed organization that is designed to assist and support physical therapists that operate independent practices. It is a group structure that helps to establish an environment that encourages mutual support of doctors, physical therapists, third-party payor companies, and patients to ensure that everyone benefits.

In addition to a solidified network that will benefit you as a physical therapy practice, we have partnered with the Rocky Mountain Rehab Alliance – formerly referred to as “CPTN Prime” – to establish a credible model that will render your practice high levels of success. You will be issued a Tax ID, experience a high level of transparency with other practices, help make physical therapy affordable for all, integrate an EMR with an outcomes collection system in your practice, and enjoy cost-sharing opportunities.

Contact Us Today

If you have an interest in providing an immediate boost to your physical therapy practice, we here at Colorado Physical Therapy Network encourage you to contact us today. By joining our network, you will be able to integrate many of the advancements highlighted here into your practice. Additionally, you will find that your patient’s experience optimal outcomes and that your practice reaches a high level of success! Contact us today by calling the following number: 303-757-7004