This is me.

Category: Physical Therapy

My name is Denver…

… and I’m going to do a lot of things.

Stay tuned.

Branding & Brand Loyalty

How does self image tie to brand loyalty?  Can we tie that to PT?

So I’ve started reading for fun again, finally.  I enjoy reading about incentives and decision making. The human capacity to fool itself amazes me.    My first brain-toy is this:  You Are Not So Smart.  It started as a blog written by @davidmcraney.  He’s a journalist who writes about things that are fun and interesting.  I recommend checking out the blog or book!  

One chapter in his book stood out as relevant to some of the #SolvePT discussions. Craney pointed out that brand loyalty is created from buying (or buying into) unessential things – iPads or your favorite brand of smart phone. To oversimplify his point, spending a lot on something you don’t need forces you to create a narrative in your mind about why you made the best decision for you.  A higher cost means a stronger internal justification.  It sounds to me like the effect lies somewhere between cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.  Your unconscious interests in justifying your decisions tie directly to your own self image.  You are forced, after making the decision, to create a narrative supporting the decision. And ownership reinforces the emotional connection to “stuff.”

Can physical therapy be stuff? Should it be?  Probably NOT.  I feel like the fact that we do not create the same brand loyalty to PT is a testament to our USEFULNESS.  Not to say that an iPad can’t be useful,  but when you need physical therapy you definitely NEED physical therapy.  You never really NEED a new tablet. I am probably reaching here, but the idea of entitlement to PT via health insurance, and a client/patient’s reluctance to pay for PT out of pocket definitely hurts our cause.  You lose the benefit of cognitive dissonance.  I am paying for PT, so I must value it!  

What’s weird to me is the attachment people have to their chiropracters.  Does that the kind of brand loyalty Craney describes insinuates an unthinking devaluation of chiropractic care?  Craney also points out that for brand loyalty to occur, you must have OPTIONS, or a decision to make.  Reducing the # of options reduces buyer’s remorse.  People LOVE their chiropracters and accupuncturists, and pay out of pocket for other services because they KNOW they have a choice!  The public is aware that they can go to a chiropracter first.  


Lets see if I can tie this together to make my point.  I am NOT saying we need to create a preception that people don’t need us so that they have to justify going to see a physical therapist.  I’m saying we need to increase AWARENESS that we are a CHOICE, not just a place patients go because the workman’s comp physician sent them to us. We need to give patients/clients/the public the opportunity to make [the right] decision about PT to allow self-image-affirmation to take over.  I think, too, that building a client/patient a reason to be more comfortable paying out of pocket will strengthen this bond.  Is this even possible???

Is anybody having success trying to create a self-paying base of patients/clients?

Readings and Musings 8.31.12

Another collection of random things that have caught my attention.  In the future, I will try to put out this list of things a little more frequently.

The Best Argument in Favor of Open Access Science is All Of Them @Kevbonham  I shouldn’t have to explain why this matters.  More information here: Open Access Publishing

Develop a Web Presence – tips and ideas for boosting your web presence, from social networking to blogging.  I’m still on google.  Maybe I should make a switch to boost my street cred. @adachis

Ridgeway & Silvernail 2012.  Innominate 3d Modeling: Biomechanically interesting, but clinically irrelevent.  @Dr_Ridge_DPT

Dr. Ridgeway was kind enough to supply with the full unedited prior to submission full text here.  Thanks!! 


Patients understand that they are in pain. Health care professionals like to try to explain why patients are in pain. But it’s a spinning plate trick – to tell them what we know about pain without invalidating what they KNOW about how they feel, and how they believe it impacts them. I like the article What predicts outcome in non-operative treatments of chronic low back pain? A systematic review (Wessels et al. 2006) for this reason. Changes in cognitive and behavioral measures may be more predictive for treatment outcomes of chronic low back pain than physical measures. But more research needs to be done (click me). What I like about this review, and it ties back into other articles (like Mannion 2001), is that we shoud do more to address patients’ beliefs about pain, fear avoidance, coping, and mood. I don’t think these questions can be addressed without LISTENING to how patients feel, and what they understand about their pain. 

These info graphics are so cool:  Mobile Healthcare or validation for my interest in developing software.
More digital information: HIPAA Devices: 2 Myths Debunked, 1 Proven True from @WebPT.  Ipads are HIPAA compliant.  Cloud storage is safer than hiding money in your mattress.  Digital storatge is safer than paper storage. 

Forward Thinking PT Posts by @joebrence9.  The latest post is about the neuromatrix model of pain developed by Dr. Ronald Melzack.  The brain uses a vast integrative network of systems to interpet threats to the system contextually as pain. Cool stuff.  One of my major interests as a #physicaltherapist (when I get a license).

Marketable Skill Sets…

What I have managed to do: Take a page that has 350+ check boxes to quantify mobility assessment and rebuild it from the ground up in PAXscript into 5 functional-punch-in-the-numbers outcomes measures, AND 2 smart grids that step you through documenting the transfer if you were writing it out by hand (and faster, to boot). I’ve managed to build this on an iPad friendly screen. And for good measure, I’m programming a box to display a “narrative” of the documented findings so you don’t have to do it yourself after you enter your data. BOOM. Marketable skill set.

My next project is gait analysis.

PT Complaint:   Unusable software.

Objective Findings:

Treatment:

More scripts.  Databases, Fields, and Subtables created.  Scripts written around those tables.
Behold: I call it Mobility Redux!  The auto-narrative isn’t finished yet, but it will be.  Happy to give anyone using PTAdvantage.  I don’t THINK that it is proprietary.  Would love ideas for the layout – as I am aesthetically-impaired.

Plan:  Finish narrative code, build gait analysis form.  

Rec Fem Causes Hip…


EXTENSION!

But that isn’t what this post is about…  Our models for understanding pathology are too primitive to be meaningful.  The background of what I’m thinking:

This article is a perfect example of how remarkably complex human motion really is.  And all I can help taking from it is that after explaining the mechanism to 3 people now, all have fired back with “So, how is that functional?”  Without even giving a minute or two to try to think about a circumstance when something like that might actually be functional.

“This is what I’ve observed.”  “It has to be this way because of the origin and insertion.”


Besides the actual function and clinical relevance discussed in the article, I like to think more about how many other parts of everything I’ve learned act as functional oversimplifications.

These over-simplifications are the basis, for instance, for much of how we model and explain very complex evaluative tools.  I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, and have been thinking about it since then, with a little feedback from a mentor.  At the same time, not too soon after, a friend of mine (@RGWooderson) forwards a blogpost to me called “A Few Tests To Toss”.  It is a great post that actually offered ANSWERS to some of the questions and things I’ve been thinking about.  A recommended read, for sure.

Now my purpose: 

The Low Back.  We try to model the mechanics of it, in all the spine’s complexities.  And evaluate the “motion” people perform by merely touching and observing.  I’m not bashing touching and observing.  I think touch and observation are our greatest tools – just extremely inaccurate, or inconsistent at best.  And seem to fail to achieve proposed/described biomechanical influences. And in the end we are frustrated or confused – as a freaking profession! – about why we can’t cure back pain.  Or why our outcomes for certain sub-populations aren’t better than surgery. 

I’m not satisfied.  Not with the methods of evaluation I was taught in school – like SI movement, low back quadrant testing, and evaluating based on assumptions of biomechanics that don’t hold true.  When I was learning it in school, and disagreed, I felt like I was out of the loop.  Like there was another lecture that I didn’t get to hear. So WTF? Am I an idiot?  Arrogant?  Hopeless? 

Pain I understand – and trying to create a more meaningful picture with provocation testing (see “A Few Tests to Toss”) makes sense to me, especially if it can be linked to treatments that are effective at reducing pain (are they?).  BUT trying to explain the mechanism of pain by assessing 1 – 2 mm of movement through centimeters of soft tissue doesn’t just seem useless, it seems irresponsible.

One answer, as I was hoping to hear (homework: revisit hindsight bias) was outcomes.  We have got to critically analyze our treatments and their outcomes as a GROUP, and hastily discontinue treatments that don’t yeild meaningful results – or as a practice we should be left behind.  Stop trying to explain the mechanism because it is very poorly understood.  Focus on what works, and be certain you are truly quantifying it. 


I started reading Doctors: A Biography of Medicine.  I haven’t finished (thanks, self, for sucking at modalities and cardio/pulm).  There were two main schools of thought regarding medicine.  Both wanted to help patients.  One school of thought was Hippocrates, who, as the father of medicine, and, as I understand it from the book, discusses change in patient condition and patients getting better as the focus of his practice.  The other school of thought in Pergamon focused on pathology, and, ultimately, did not produce a father of medicine.  Galen was more like an uncle of medicine.  Brilliant, to be certain, but wrong frequently about anatomy and physiology.  Understanding of pathology, cell models, etc… was too primitive to be meaningful then, and in many cases today, too primitive to be meaningful now.   I like the clinical prediction rules as a starting point for treatment because, while ignoring the ever elusive question of “why are you in pain?”  it still offers solutions which have documented improvements compared to older methods of treatment. 

Rant over.


Jumping back on the cardiovascular/pulmonary and modalities studying for the NPTE bandwagon.  Thanks for reading. 


-d