ATI Physical Therapy Introduces National Report: The State of Physical Therapy Utilization in the U.S.
As May has been designated National Physical Fitness and Sports month, ATI Physical Therapy, the nation's largest physical therapy practice under one brand, is launching The State of Physical Therapy, a report based on the analysis of data from patients throughout its national footprint of half of the U.S.
Through analysis of over 600,000 patient records, some intriguing patterns were discovered based on geographic location as well as age-related demographic information such as the tendency for millennials to be treated for TMJ more than any other condition, potentially connected to high levels of stress. The findings also discovered that nationally, the top five issues that patients receive physical therapy for are hip, back, knee, foot and hand injuries.
ATI queried data is from ATI’s Patient Outcomes Registry, part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Registry of Patient Registries1. The State of Physical Therapy’s results are based on data from over 600,000 patients seen over 2015-16. The ATI Patient Outcomes Registry data is collected through ATI’s proprietary electronic medical record system. The data is automatically gathered in real-time and is archived for analytical and scientific use—allowing clinicians to focus on their patients, not data entry. The ATI Patient Outcomes Registry provides ATI the opportunity to analyze outcomes, trends and key statistics of patients over time with the intention of improving the healthcare system and the patient experience.
Average Patient Age
Based on the analysis of the ATI Patient Outcomes Registry data across its different markets within the United States, ATI found the average physical therapy patient is 51 years old. “While we realize that the average patient age of 51 is not considered old, in reality, people of all ages should take preventative measures such as stretching regularly, exercising, eating healthily and going to see a healthcare provider at the first sign of discomfort to best combat longer term problems,” explained Dr. Chris Stout, Vice President of Research and Data Analytics, ATI Physical Therapy and founder of the ATI Patient Outcomes Registry. These are the additional findings related to average patient age:
Youngest Patients: Nationally, Arkansas has the youngest age group averaging 45 years old, which amounts to 13% less 70+ year old physical therapy patients than other states.
Oldest Patients: Missouri has the oldest average patients by 5 years with 9% more 70+ year old patients than the other states in the network.
Millennials Are Being Treated For TMJ
The findings showed that the most treated condition in millennial physical therapy patients is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder “While a wide variety of studies have indicated that psychological, sensory genetic or even nervous system factors may increase the risk of having TMJ, the exact cause of this is unknown. However, we have seen promising results from care provided through physical therapy,” noted Stout.
Male and Female Patients are Experiencing Similar Presenting Problems
On average in 70% of states sampled from, ATI’s male and female physical therapy patients have the same body part being treated throughout all the age brackets. From knee and hand injuries to the lumbar, both sexes are commonly being treated for the same presenting complaints.
Elbow, Wrist and Hand Injuries Are on The Rise in Ohio
The analysis from the ATI Patient Outcomes Registry found that 47% of Ohio’s physical therapy treatments are for elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Stout said, “We’ve seen a rise in wrist and hand injuries in Ohio, so we’ll be keeping a close watch on that data moving forward to see if hand and wrist injuries may be on the rise nationwide.”
Neurological Disorders Are Anticipated to Increase Among the Elderly Patients
Currently, over 50% of ATI’s elderly physical therapy patients are being treated for various neurological problems (e.g., Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Cardio-vascular accidents, diffuse traumatic brain injury, abnormalities of gait and mobility, hemiplegia, or other motor neuron diseases). This alarming number is expected to increase as the elderly population will double by 2050, as noted in the Annals of Neurology, which addresses the symptoms that come with a neurological disorder.
“Ultimately, this type of data is integral for us to find and collect so that ATI can work to further improve the healthcare system and better understand the needs of our patients so we can be more proactive in our therapy approach, ” said Stout. "We are going to continue analyzing registry data to make the State of Physical Therapy visible to the larger market, helping to ensure this data is shared with the relevant audiences and groups so we can all be working toward a common goal of bringing innovative solutions and therapies to the healthcare arena.”
1 Registries are vetted by the U.S. Government and do not contain any Protected Health Information, but rather aggregate findings to discover trends and presentations.