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6 Ways Reshape is Different from Traditional Physical Therapy

Apr 26, 2019


Here is a link to a replay of the Facebook LIVE of this discussion. 

You Will Learn

  • Six major differences in the client's experience between between traditional insurance-based physical therapy and Reshape Physical Therapy and Wellness, LLC.
  • Specifically, the experience before the evaluation, the actual evaluation, focus of the plan of care, communication and follow-up between visits, payment, and discharge process. The barriers to providing awesome customer service in traditional physical therapy.  


I had to be careful developing the content for today’s Facebook Live. I tried to point out the differences between Reshape and traditional physical therapy from the client’s standpoint and customer experience, not talk down traditional physical therapy which it may sound like some of the time.  

There are some really great PTs out there doing awesome things, by nature we are very caring and relational people. Unfortunately, when you are doing insurance-based PT, most of your time is spent talking about insurance, what the new rules are, how to document better to get paid, how many visits we should be aiming for, communication with other team members, etc.  

When you are in the insurance game, there just isn’t a lot of headspace to stop and think about how to improve the client’s experience.  

“I’ve Tried Physical Therapy Before.”  

I hear this all the time! When I tell people I’m a physical therapist and I started my own business, they assume it’s like any other physical therapy practice they have encountered before but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  

I have put but lot of time and thought into my client’s experience and want to take you behind the scenes to highlight the differences between a traditional insurance-based physical therapy practice and Reshape.  

Here is an overview of the six main differences, I’ll discuss them in more detail later.  

1. Experience before the evaluation 2. Actual evaluation 3. Focus of plan of care 4. Communication and follow-up between visits 5. Payment process 6. Discharge process and maintenance plan  


1. Experience Before the Evaluation  

Traditional Traditional insurance-based physical therapy is usually prescribed by a physician to help address pain or rehab from an illness or injury. If you need to find a PT, I suggest you use the FindaPT website sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association. You can search for a PT in your area and see specific conditions they treat. HERE is the link to FindaPT.  

After you pick your physical therapist, typically you would call and speak to a receptionist for a few minutes to provide your contact and insurance information. You may be asked to come in a little early to fill out intake paperwork and the conversation usually ends there.  

Reshape Most of my clients hear about me through word of mouth, a blog post or video, or an online review. Maybe they have attended a workshop or downloaded a free guide or report. They have likely taken advantage of some form of content I put out there and already trust me a little bit. But they need more information.  

That’s where a discovery visit comes it. This is a free 20-30 minute phone call to discuss you health goals, why they are important to you, what you have tried before, and get all of your questions for us answered. If you feel like we are a good fit for you and vice versa, we schedule your evaluation.  

Your intake paperwork is e-mailed to you to fill out online before your evaluation so your therapist can be fully informed and prepared to give you the most value possible for your evaluation time.  

Along the way you will get e-mails about your discovery visit and evaluation so you know exactly what to expect and we stay on the same page.  


2. Evaluation Experience  

Traditional A traditional physical therapy evaluation lasts about 45-60 minutes long. Your therapist may have access to a health and physical sent by your doctor’s office, they may not. They may be reviewing the intake paperwork you filled out during your evaluation. Because you have never met them before, you probably feel a little nervous and anxious, like you are on a blind date.  

You may talk for a bit, the therapist does some tests depending on your areas of concern, and there may be a few minutes of treatment at the end of the evaluation. You may get exercises or homework on day one, you may not. Much of the therapist’s time during your evaluation is probably spent on their computer documenting.  

There probably isn’t that much discussion of your plan of care. They may or may not discuss specific goals, how many times a week you need to come in, or how long it will take you to reach your goals.  

A typical plan of care is 2-3 times per week for 4-8 weeks depending on your condition.  

Reshape Your evaluation lasts about 90 minutes and takes place at your home, office, or a common meeting place.  

Because we have already spoken over the phone, and you have submitted your intake paperwork, I have a really good understanding of what’s going on and what to focus on for your evaluation. Instead of going on a blind date, it’s like you are meeting up with a friend, much more comfortable.  

The first 30 minutes are spent getting to know each other and asking clarifying questions from your intake paperwork. After this your therapist take measurements to determine your risk of developing disease and discusses your number compared to norms so you know where you fall. We then set specific short and long-term goals and get right to work.  

Your therapist will get an application installed on your phone with customized nutritional goals so you can start seeing results the very first week.  

We talk in detail about your plan of care. Typically weight loss and wellness clients are seen 1 time per week for the first month or two, depending on their background with nutrition. These visits can be provided in person or virtually. Visit frequency tapers throughout your plan of care as you become more self-accountable and independent.  

A typical plan of care will be at least 3 months long and can be a year-long or more depending on your goals.  


3. Focus of Plan of Care  

Traditional Most people seeking traditional physical therapy for an injury, illness, or pain. Typical sessions will include exercise, manual therapy, massage, balance exercises, flexibility training, and maybe modalities depending on your situation.  

Often I hear about clients doing things in physical therapy they feel like they could have done at home for free!

At many physical therapy practices, you may not even get to work with the same therapist from one session to the next. I think this like planning to go out to lunch with one friend, but someone else shows up in their place because your friend got busy, it just feels rude and awkward.  

Reshape At this time Reshape only offers preventative, weight loss, and wellness services. People seek our services for completely different reasons than traditional physical therapy. They may want to lose weight or reach other wellness goals like lowering your blood sugar or blood pressure. They most always want to improve their exercise routine and tone up.  

Food comes first in your plan of care. Depending on your nutritional background, we focus solely on nutrition for the first month or two. Once you have a good handle on food to eat then we work into a physical activity program tailored to your health conditions, goals, and preferences  

The location of these varies. We may meet at your house, in the community, or do a virtual visit via FaceTime or a phone call.  


4. Communication and Follow-up Between Visits  

Traditional With traditional physical therapy, your relationship and communication usually start and end when you enter and exit the building. Your therapist may give you a sheet of exercises, usually with print too small to read. Some practices are more sophisticated and will e-mail you videos or a program.  

Reshape We have developed systems and processes that encourage more fluid and frequent communication with our clients. We have a secure client portal through which you can message your therapist directly with any questions.  

Your therapist provides you with session summary notes after each session. These contain 3-5 action items that are related to your short-term goals. The session summary notes may also include links to recipes, helpful and educational information, and exercise recommendations. They always include praise and encouragement towards your goals.  

On top of the session summaries, your therapist can see what foods you are eating through the application. This adds an extra layer of accountability.  


5. Payment  

Traditional A co-payment may be required at the time of services for physical therapy. Often the clinic will send your bill through insurance and you will get the remainder in the mail. If you have not met your deductible for the year you could get an unexpectedly high bill. If you have met your deductible, you may still own some money depending on your policy.  

Reshape We are transparent and straightforward about our pricing during your discovery visit. We do batched billing at the end of each month. We collect your preferred credit, debit, or health savings account information with your intake paperwork. We bill you for visits that were provided that month and you get a paid invoice through our secure portal. It is like any other bill that is paid automatically.  

Currently Reshape offers mostly preventative and wellness services not covered by insurance. We do not provide codes on your invoices so you could submit to insurance for payment because they are not considered covered services. If in the future we provide physical therapy services covered by insurance we may consider adding codes to our invoices so clients could do a self-claim for partial reimbursement.  


6. Discharge Process  

Traditional After you have “graduated” from traditional physical therapy, there is little follow-up communication. You may get a shirt or be added to their newsletter list. I love a good T-shirt so hope to offer some in the future.  

Overall there just isn’t great follow-up and I believe that is why many clients say that they had results when they were going to physical therapy but once the treatments stopped so did their progress.  

Some clinics will have a wellness program, similar to a gym where you pay once a month to use their equipment in a medically supervised setting.  

Reshape Our plans of care tend to be several months long, and we tend to have weekly or at a minimum monthly communication with our clients throughout their plan. Discharging and not keeping them on our radar just doesn’t feel natural because we’ve developed relationships with them.  

We like to develop maintenance programs for our clients specific to their needs whether that be monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual check-ups to keep them accountable and troubleshoot and challenges along the way.  

We always add our clients to our newsletter so they can continue to get at least monthly inspiration and education from videos, community events, recipes, and blog posts.  


Bottom Line  

There are really great physical therapists, and private in-network practices out there. If you are looking for traditional physical therapy services covered by insurance, click HERE to find a PT.  

Notice the little red circle by the therapist’s name? That means they have additional training and a specialization in a certain field.  

If you are looking for evidence-based weight loss, prevention, and wellness services, you are in the right place. If you live in the Omaha, NE or surrounding areas, click HERE to schedule your free 30 minute phone call with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy to learn how we can help you reach your weight loss and wellness goals.  

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