In light of evolving technology and advancements in telehealth, the American Physical Therapy Association has launched the APTA Digital Health Transparency Campaign to ensure that licensed physical therapists remain directly involved in the provision of care no matter the delivery system.

While APTA recognizes and supports the potential for technology to augment physical therapist practice, the reality is that technology alone cannot be called physical therapy. The campaign seeks to encourage leaders in the field of physical therapy and digital health care to pledge their commitment to transparency. Nine leading companies have already agreed to make the commitment and the list is growing.

APTA maintains that physical therapy, whether provided in person or virtually, is performed or directed solely by licensed physical therapists. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy agrees that “the use of the phrase ‘physical therapy’ is reserved for use by licensees to ensure that patients understand with whom they are receiving physical therapy services.” And several jurisdictions expressly prohibit advertising the provision of physical therapist services where a physical therapist doesn’t provide or directly supervise the care provided.

APTA is asking companies that provide digital health to make the following commitment:

“Digital ‘physical therapy’ services are performed or directed only by licensed physical therapists in accordance with all regulations and APTA’s Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy.

Physical therapist examination, evaluation, diagnosis, development of a management plan, and intervention shall be represented and reimbursed as “physical therapy” only when performed by a physical therapist or when selected interventions are performed by a physical therapist assistant under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.”

In a recent statement, APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA, asserted that “Physical therapist treatment and technology can and should coexist with the health and experience of the consumer in mind.” He went on to say, “APTA stands ready to collaborate with digital platforms and partners to ensure these care models are consistent with existing laws and regulations, uphold consumer protections, and advance quality practice provided by licensed health professionals in accordance with their professional obligations and state-defined scope of practice.”

APTA will continue to promote consumer transparency and encourage other companies to commit to this pledge.

[Source(s): American Physical Therapy Association, PR Newswire]