By far, the most exciting event at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in Las Vegas was the launch of a new brand for the profession. The brand itself is pretty slick, but the exciting part lies simply in the fact that this is the first time in the history of the profession that such a monumental effort to define physical therapy has been undertaken.
Physical Therapists Bring Motion to Life
Most times that I think of a brand, things like Wal-Mart or McDonalds or Pepsi come to mind. Brands in these instances are logos and obviously very corporate. That type of brand will not work for a group of health professionals. What's needed is a definition, a spoken truth that comes across from all person and parts of the profession that conveys to everyone who's listening, just what that profession does. With that in mind, I do think the message linking physical therapists to motion is apt. We truly do live in the world of human motion and are experts without equal in this area. So yes, we are about motion, we help people move, and that motion brings quality into the lives of the people we serve. I will have no trouble telling people I'm an expert in motion...in fact, I already do (though whether or not they listen is a different story...).
Find Out about Physical Therapists
Physical Therapists who are APTA Members can check out the members only site which is chock full of useful information about the brand, market research, and contacts and talking points. Everyone else can check out the brand new website, MoveForwardPT.com. This site will be growing over the next year or so, hopefully adding more rich content for consumers.
Some in the profession have expressed to me that they don't think the brand goes far enough in its mission to qualify us as the healthcare experts of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Absent from the brand is mentions of pain, diagnostic skills, and common conditions like stroke and low back pain. I do agree to an extent with this, though quickly looking through the websites I listed above, it's obvious that those issues are addressed. In essence, the broad nature of "motion" is adaptable by many of the different interests within the profession and so I think it stands a pretty good chance. Regardless, unless everyone plays the game, we won't be able to ever tell if it's a good brand or not.
The Bottom Line
There was much that happened at the confernce, and much about to happen in the profession. I'm excited. I truly believe that physical therapists are of enormous benefit to the healthcare system, but one that is currently very underappreciated. I'm eager for a change!