Results of a study surrounding the effects of physical therapy (PT) when combatting musculoskeletal complaints were revealed recently at the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Private Practice 2022 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Aurora, Colorado. The study, which explored findings using medical claims and patient surveillance, was presented by Dr. Larry Benz, DPT,OCS, MBA, MAPP, and co-founder and CEO of Confluent Health, and Dr. John Childs, PT, PhD, MBA, FAPTA and co-founder of Evidence in Motion.

“PT First”, a health plan benefit designed to incentivize the use of PT from the initial outset of musculoskeletal conditions, eliminates co-pays for PT. The overarching findings concluded that using PT first resulted in 42% savings in the total cost of care. Other findings included that the program increased the uptake of PT first by 50% or more, reduced the overall cost of care, and decreased the duration of care needed.

“We began this study in 2018 with the intent of helping educate others needing conservative and cost-effective relief for their musculoskeletal conditions in a system that incentivizes the most expensive, invasive care first,” said Dr. Benz. “Now, four years later, our study confirms that removing the barriers to seeking physical therapy early decreases the likelihood of high-cost imaging and procedures, the use of opioid therapy, and medical costs in total.”

In fact, opioid therapy and pain medications increased the duration of care and decreased the rate of using PT first. When muscle relaxers were prescribed, it tripled the average cost of care, and when narcotics were prescribed, it quadrupled the average cost of care.

As a next step to the PT First study, Benz’s musculoskeletal care company, Confluent Health, has launched mōviMSK. This omnichannel solution, innovated by Confluent Health, was launched in 2021 to provide fast, virtual access to board-certified physical therapists assisting the 50% of Americans that suffer from a musculoskeletal condition every day. The solution helps patients get to the best, most conservative care first and saves the patient and their medical plans time, resources, and expense.

“MōviMSK uses a unique combination of evidence-based care, processes, and technologies to offer a global and turnkey approach to managing musculoskeletal complaints,” said Dr. Benz. “While the global healthcare crisis of musculoskeletal deficiencies is disheartening, we are excited to offer this solution as a next step.”

[Source(s): Confluent Health, Accesswire]