Empowering Through Knowledge: The Importance of Patient Education in Physical Therapy

Knowledge is Power: Unveiling the Benefits of Patient Education:

Imagine embarking on a physical therapy journey feeling informed, empowered, and actively involved in your own recovery. That’s the magic of patient education! Here’s how it benefits you:

  • Improved Treatment Adherence: Understanding your condition, treatment goals, and the rationale behind exercises fosters motivation and commitment to following your therapist’s recommendations, leading to better outcomes.
  • Enhanced Self-Management: Equipped with knowledge and skills, you can actively participate in your recovery, performing exercises on your own and making informed decisions about your physical well-being.
  • Reduced Fear and Anxiety: Understanding the cause of your pain and learning about treatment options can alleviate apprehension and anxiety, promoting a more positive and successful therapy experience.
  • Empowered Decision-Making: Knowing your options and having a clear understanding of potential risks and benefits allows you to make informed decisions about your treatment plan in collaboration with your therapist.
  • Faster Recovery and Long-Term Success: Active participation and self-management knowledge acquired through education contribute to faster healing, reduced risk of re-injury, and long-term maintenance of physical function.

Building the Bridge of Knowledge: Key Elements of Patient Education:

Effective patient education goes beyond simply providing information. It’s a dynamic and interactive process that considers individual needs and learning styles. Here are some key elements:

  • Understanding Your Condition: Clear explanations of your diagnosis, the underlying causes of your symptoms, and the expected course of the condition are crucial for informed decision-making.
  • Treatment Goals and Plan: A detailed explanation of your specific treatment goals, the rationale behind each exercise, and the expected timeline for improvement empowers you to actively participate in your recovery.
  • Safety and Proper Technique: Thorough instruction on safe and effective exercise techniques, along with potential modifications for individual needs, minimizes injury risk and maximizes therapeutic benefits.
  • Home Exercise Program: A personalized program with clear instructions and demonstrations ensures continued progress and self-management even outside therapy sessions.
  • Answering Questions and Addressing Concerns: Open communication and timely answers to your questions and concerns foster trust and understanding, creating a collaborative and supportive therapeutic environment.

Crossing the Gap: Strategies for Effective Implementation:

Implementing effective patient education requires commitment from both therapists and patients. Here are some key strategies:

  • Individualized Approach: Tailor education to each patient’s learning style, cultural background, and literacy level. Utilize visuals, demonstrations, and written materials to cater to diverse needs.
  • Interactive Communication: Encourage active participation through open dialogue, question-asking, and opportunities for clarification.
  • Simple and Clear Language: Avoid technical jargon and explain complex concepts in understandable terms.
  • Multiple Teaching Methods: Utilize a combination of verbal explanations, demonstrations, visual aids, and written materials to reinforce learning.
  • **Feedback and ** Regularly assess understanding, address any knowledge gaps, and provide ongoing support through follow-up sessions.


Investing in patient education is not just an added layer; it’s the cornerstone of successful and sustainable physical therapy. By empowering patients with knowledge and self-management skills, we pave the way for informed decision-making, active participation, and ultimately, improved recovery and long-term physical well-being. Let’s bridge the gap between therapist and patient through effective education, empowering individuals to take charge of their own physical journey.

Let’s Talk About Food

Let’s Talk About Food

Nick Blonski, UNM DPT ’21

As physical therapists in the world of direct access many times we are the first people to welcome physical therapists into the world of health care. One of our main jobs as physical therapists is to do a comprehensive systems screen and provide a full evaluation comprised of a subjective and objective examination. Undoubtedly at some point during your time as a physical therapist or even a student physical therapist you have been confronted with a patient that asks about nutrition or you feel would benefit from discussing nutrition. This can be an incredibly awkward situation, as it seems like something we should be able to discuss due to the effects it has on physical abilities. So the questions become what are we allowed to discuss with our patient, when should we refer a patient, and whom should we refer a patient to? 

According to the American Physical Therapy Association nutrition is within our professional scope of practice as physical therapists. Our role as physical therapist in regards to nutrition allows us to screen and provide information about diet and nutritional issues to patients.1 It is also important to remember to check both the physical therapy practice act for your state, along with practice acts for nutritionists and dieticians within your state. A good rule of thumb for providing information about nutrition is using information that can be publically found. One good resource that you can refer patients to is https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. The My Plate website can help you as a clinician explain a healthy diet and also has many resources including printable free documents you can provide to patients.

When trying to figure out if you should refer a patient for further nutritional consultation a few criteria can point you in a referral direction. If you feel uncomfortable trying to provide nutritional education it is better to refer to a specialist to maintain high quality of patient care. It is also essential to refer a patient for nutritional education if the patient needs help with meal planning, or needs to talk about specific macronutrients and micronutrients. Lastly, it is important to refer a patient that has special nutritional needs. This can qualify for athletes trying to plan a nutritional plan to improve performance or a patient with diabetes that needs nutritional modification to maintain quality of life. 

When choosing whom to refer to it is important to know the difference between a nutritionist and a registered dietician. A registered dietician is someone in the United States that is required to become registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), where as a nutritionist does not. Dieticians are regulated by government regulations whereas a nutritionist who choses to not go by dietitian or registered dietitian are typically free from government regulation.2 This again is dependent on the state you practice in and should be researched when referring a patient for nutritional consultation.

When working with patient it is important to provide the highest quality of education and service. This includes the education we provide on nutrition as it can play such a huge role in a patient’s health. Taking time to review websites such as My Plate and familiarizing ourselves with basic nutritional facts and preparing printable handouts can improve our ability to answer patients’ basic nutritional questions. Knowing when to refer a patient and who to refer to can also greatly improve the quality of care a patient receives and can improve our patients’ quality of life.


1. “Role Of PT Diet Nutrition.” APTA, www.apta.org/apta-and-you/leadership-and-governance/policies/role-of-pt-diet-nutrition.

2. “Distinguishing Between Dietitian vs Nutritionist.” Dietitian vs Nutritionist, www.nutritioned.org/dietitian-vs-nutritionist.html.

Treating the Whole Patient.

Treating the Whole Patient.

The noncompliant patient who convinced me to study PT 

Megan Cheng, SPT

We didn’t do any therEx. It was, in a way, the least physical physical-therapy appointment I’d ever seen.
But it was this appointment that opened my eyes to the profession and convinced me to go to PT school.
I was shadowing at a physical therapy clinic for the first time. I watched appointments quietly, worried about getting in the way, and asked shy questions. This patient arrived for her follow-up appointment late. Her face was flushed and she talked quickly, spilling out every inconvenience of a bad day, her general frustration with the medical system in general and several nurses in particular. She didn’t understand her radiology report, no one would explain it right, they said she was taking up too much of their time, she was running late, it was too hot out…
The PT nodded along, then gently mentioned the HEP. 
Now the patient looked as if she was going to cry. She hadn’t done it, she didn’t know if there was any progress, it was so warm in here…
My mentor asked if the patient would like to use the session for soft tissue work, ultrasound, and looking at the radiologist’s report together.
The patient finally stopped for breath.
After some quick gross motor tests, we went back to a private treatment room, where the PT gave manual therapy and ultrasound, and listened. She gently offered perspectives (“you know, it’s likely this person didn’t mean it that way…”). She summarized the radiology report in a few sentences, and the patient immediately accepted it (“See, why didn’t they say that?”). In the end, the PT reassigned the previous HEP, and the patient left calm, breathing deeply.
After she left, the therapist saw my puzzled face and quietly told me some previous conditions in the patient’s history to explain her emotional instability.
I left, thinking. 
The patient had a distorted view of pretty much everyone she talked about. She complained about other medical professionals, she was impatient with people in general. But she was convinced that the therapist was on her side. The therapist cared.
One of my classmates says that they were inspired to pursue PT when they realized how physical therapy treatment helped them “mentally and not just physically.” This is similar to my own motivation. This appointment was one of the first times I realized the wonderful opportunity PTs have to treat a whole person – to come alongside people who are hurting or frustrated or just have questions, and to be on their team as they heal. 
 I know I’m preaching to the choir – if you’re reading this blog you’re probably a healthcare  provider  and you know what an influence a person’s emotional health can have on their success in therapy.  But I’m hoping that the story can encourage you when you are teaching students. We learn more from watching you than hand positioning for goniometry. We see you motivate patients to push on and achieve their goals. We see your compassion, and the ways that you carefully gain a patient’s trust. Soldier on! We’re learning from you.

A New Online Learning Tool On How to Automate Patient Care Plans for Physical Therapy Practice Owners

Care Plan Automation Solution Is Now Available with BestPT Billing and EHR Software

automated care plans for physical therapistsCLEARWATER, FLORIDA (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 24, 2015

BestPT Billing and EHR Software helps their clients manage patient care plans. Their Care Plan management tool ensures that patients understand their financial commitments prior to accepting care, while practice owners standardize billing and comply with payer’s copay and coinsurance requirements.

According to Dr. Eldad De-Medonsa, bestPTs’ President and PhD in Artificial Intelligence, the effects of using automated care plans for care planning and monitoring help improve outcomes and maintain financial health of the practice. “Care plans are important because patients will not commit to care if they cannot easily understand their financial commitment. As importantly, practice owners have to stay compliant by charging, adjusting, and writing off the correct amounts. We leverage the cloud, billing experts, and Artificial Intelligence to help design the most effective practice management software,” says De-Medonsa.

Click here to view the webinar and to learn more.

About BestPT and Billing Dynamix, LLC

BestPT by Billing Dynamix is a comprehensive cloud-based Physical Therapy Practice Management system that includes intuitive EMR, industry-leading billing, scheduling, and powerful yet simple workflow management. Save documentation time and keep legible and compliant documents. Automate claims and leverage over 2.5 million coding rules spanning 2,500 practice-years of experience. Reduce administrative overhead and foster staff teamwork. BestPT is the ONLY Physical Therapy clinic solution that reduces administrative time by 70% compared to industry averages – GUARANTEED. Complete practice management consulting and a rich array of integrated products and services round out bestPT product and service packages. Register for a private Demo+, and review our industry-leading guarantee at https://bestptbilling.com/



Understanding Through Images and Animations


Plugging In

Will Shannon find her patient education solution in the cloud?

“Aren’t we the modern family!” Mike laughed, looking around the room. His wife was at her laptop and he was at his, their youngest daughter was playing a game on a tablet, and the other kids were texting friends on their phones. The TV was on, too, so there were more screens active than people.

Shannon looked at him doubtfully. “What do you mean?”

“Look at all these screens! We’re all plugged into our devices — together in the room, but each of us hooked up to our own electronic stuff.”

“You’re right. But I think I might have made a breakthrough on the patient education issue.” Shannon scooted closer and showed Mike her screen. “See these 3-D images and animations?”

The older kids came close to see. “Awesome!” their son said.

“It’s awesome, all right — the largest library of 3-D animations of medical conditions anywhere, and there are lots of exercise and rehab images, too.”

“So,” Mike said, “the idea is that you can show these to patients and they’ll understand their conditions better?”

“Their conditions, the treatments we want to use, the exercises they should be doing at home — everything! When they understand, they’ll be more likely to follow through.”

“Also,” their son put in, “you’ll be the coolest PT in town. They could make a game out of these.”

Shannon laughed. “They don’t have a game, but we can email them a custom report so they have the information they need at home in between visits. Plus, it’s browser-based, so we can use it all through the practice. That means we’ll all be giving them a consistent message, so there’ll be less chance of confusion — and less chance that they’ll feel they have to go somewhere else for information.”

“This is impressive,” Mike agreed. “I can see that this could be a selling point for you.”

“It’s also integrated with practice management software, so it can be part of our regular workflow, not more work for us.”

“It makes sense. This is clearly a good use of technology. Now maybe we as a family should unplug and do something together.”

Will Shannon find her patient education solution in the cloud?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Physical Therapy Software | Improve patient relationships with visual education tools

physical therapy software_3DRX-patient educationAre you worried about patient flow fluctuations at your physical therapy practice? Inconsistent patient flow results in unpredictable cash flow which puts the future of your practice in jeopardy. To avoid going out of business, you need to attack the problem at its root– patient education. You can improve your patient relationships and increase your retention rate by using more effective, visual patient education tools.

It is difficult to explain diagnosis and treatment options to patients in simple terms due to the complexity of the human body. To make matters worse, your patients only retain about seven percent of the educational health information you share with them via traditional methods. Add to this conundrum your limited time available for each patient visit and you have a recipe for low patient flow.

When patients don’t understand their health issues and prescribed care plan, they don’t return for treatment or follow your instructions. As a result, they are not getting better and they are sure to blame you.

These no-shows can also cause compliance issues for your physical therapy practice as the insurance companies can request payments back for patients who stop treatment.

You can boost your patients’ comprehension of your diagnosis and save time explaining it by using the visual 3DRX patient education software directly from the travel card. The 3D animations and videos are easy to understand and explain various conditions visually without overwhelming or confusing your patients. At the end of the visit you can quickly email the prescribed care plan with 3DRX images and instructions to your patients to ensure compliance. Once they understand what causes their discomfort and how your treatment will alleviate it, they will be much more motivated to return for their next appointments.

A patient portal as well as an option to subscribe to rehabilitation exercises provide additional opportunities to help your patients stay on track with their care plans. Last but not least, 3DRX also lets you offer Durable Medical Equipment to your patients as an additional income source.

Contact your SPOC if you want to start using this effective patient education tool that is integrated with your bestPT system.