An estimated 126.6 million Americans (1 in 2 adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages (United States Bone and Joint Initiative).
The burden of musculoskeletal conditions is significant in terms of treatment and care, as well as the impact upon of quality of life, mobility, and productivity, and lost work days.
- In 2011, the annual U.S. cost for treatment and lost wages for MSDs was $213 billion, or 1.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
- 18% of all health care visits in 2010 were related to MSDs, including 52 million visits for low back pain, and 66 million for bone and joint injuries.
- The average annual cost per person for treatment of a musculoskeletal condition is $7,800.
- In 2012, 25.5 million people lost an average of 11.4 days of work due to back or neck pain, for a total of 290.8 million lost workdays in 2012 alone.
Most of the cost is due to chronic conditions and it has been found that chronicity is related to lack of proper care at onset. Our current health care system is failing and the only way to fix it to disrupt it by finding a better, faster, cheaper and more convenient way of providing care for those suffering from MSDs.
Physical Therapists (PTs) are trained to assess and treat MSDs. Research has shown significant positive results, if one goes to PT for a MSD, before seeing a physician, including1-7:
- decreased length of the condition
- decreased cost
- decreased visits
- decreased opioid prescriptions
- decreased unnecessary radiographic exams
The physical therapist is the specialist in treating muscle and joint problems, so if you are in pain you should be able to go directly to a specialist. On average the length of time to see a physical therapist by prescription from a physician is 62 days, and only 25% of those in pain from a musculoskeletal disorder actually see a physical therapist.8 Maybe this is part of the reason that MSDs cost over 20 billion dollars per year.
Healthcare as we know it is changing rapidly, because of advances in technology and consumer demands. We now have the ability to search the internet for our conditions and research the latest treatments. More and more consumers are now taking a central role in their own care.
Our company has built a platform that connects a patient suffering from a muscle or joint problem to a specialty trained clinician, via a secure video conference. You can now have access to the highest trained specialist when it is convenient to you in your home or even while at work.
Our app is available for your smartphone on both iTunes and the Google Play stores. (Virtual Physical Therapists)
- Childs, et al. A description of physical therapists’ knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder .2005:6(32).
- Moore J, Goss D, Baxter R, et al. Clinical Diagnostic Accuracy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Patients Referred by Physical Therapists, Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Nonorthopaedic Providers. JOSPT. 2005:35(2)67-71.
- Piano, et al. Direct access to physical therapy for the patient with musculoskeletal disorders, a literature review. J Phys Ther Sci. 2017:29,1463–1471.
- Pendergast, et al. A Comparison of Health Care Use for Physician-Referred and Self-Referred Episodes of Outpatient Physical Therapy. Health Sev Res 2012. 47(2): 633–654.
- Childs, et al. Knowledge in Managing Musculoskeletal Conditions and Educational Preparation of Physical Therapists in the Uniformed Services. Military Med. 2007:4,440.
- More et al., Risk Determination for Patients with Direct Access to Physical Therapy in Military Health Care Facilities. JOSPT.2005:35(10)674-8.
- Boyles, et al. Physical Therapist Practice and the Role of Diagnostic Imaging. JOSPT. 2011:14(11),829-837.
- Does Unrestricted Direct Access to Physical Therapy Reduce Utilization and Health Spending? http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/files/HCCI-Issue-Brief-Unrestricted-Access-to-Physical-Therapy.pdf(Accessed 10/08/2017)