“I definitely think there are going to be things that are permanently changed,” said Melinda Gates in a recent Business Insider interview. No person, neighborhood, or industry has been spared from the effects of this pandemic. It will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for major transformation in our world.
As an on-demand physical therapy service, we can’t help but wonder how physical therapy will change in the months and years to come. How will physical therapists bounce back from this crisis? How will the pandemic change the mindset of patients in need of physical therapy services in the future?
Nothing is certain, but one thing is clear—when the need arises, people can pivot faster than we ever thought possible.
Is Staying at Home Going to Stick Post-Pandemic?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 25% of workers in the U.S. worked from home at least occasionally between 2017 and 2018. To slow the spread of coronavirus, the number has forcibly increased over the last few weeks as our typical work lives have been uprooted and reimagined.
“This virus is calling into question the way we work on such a huge level,” says Brigid Schulte, Director of Better Life Lab. Before the pandemic struck, remote work in the United States was escalating rapidly. Now, with the majority of businesses encouraging or mandating employees to work from home, we are getting a glimpse into what the future of work might look like.
A recent survey from Zippia found that “more than half of American workers prefer working from home and want to continue working from home when all this is over.” And, according to research, working from home can provide the following benefits for companies and their employees:
Better work/life balance
Decreased commute time
Improved mental health
Saving on office space
Increased employee loyalty
The Future of Physical Therapy is On-Demand
To mitigate the risks to patients and staff, many physical therapy clinics across the country have closed. Others have moved to televisit models, serving their patients over virtual meeting technologies like BetterPT, Doxy.me, and Zoom.
“Waiting until full quarantine sets in isn’t the best time to figure out how digital transformation can work in practice, however, this might yet be the tectonic shift needed for digital transformation to really take hold,” said Charles Towers-Clark of Forbes.
Physical therapists around the world are doing their best to shift their business models to adapt to this new world. But for those who have waited until now to utilize technology and offer televisits and on-demand healthcare, is it too late?
What happens in the next few months could shape the future of the way we work, the way we live, and the way we receive physical therapy.
Will we ever go back to the “old” way of doing physical therapy? Will we find a way to forge a new path forward? Will employees demand more work-from-home opportunities post-pandemic? Will patients grow accustomed to the convenience of receiving services where and when they want them? Only time will tell.