Human Function and Performance Physical Therapy opened in September of 2018 with zero hype, no community reputation, and absolutely no "referral sources." You see, in the health care world a majority of patients find their practitioners via direct referrals from someone else. This may be a referral from your doctor to a physical therapist, a chiropractor to see a massage therapist, a trainer to see a physical therapist, etc. Without a direct referral, a health care practitioner is essentially relying on divine intervention for patients to just walk in. A lot has changed since September of 2018. After nearly 1.5 years in business Human Function and Performance is busting at the seems and will soon be expanding.
That is why I took the time this morning to redefine what Human Function and Performance stands for. When hiring it is important to do two things. 1) Hire someone who fits the culture. 2) Hire someone that isn't the exact same as everyone else. Sounds contradictory but in actuality it is vital to running a well rounded, successful business. Any new hire must fill a gap in job responsibility. If everyone on staff wants to workout at night, it is going to be difficult to staff from 11-7. At the same time, if you hire someone who doesn't value the same principles as the rest of the staff, there will be inconsistency in patient care and results. This morning I am defining 5 Principles of Human Function and Performance. These are posted here for interested potential employees to read as well as patients to understand more about how we do things.
1) Do What Is Best For Patients.
This principle is number one for countless reasons. This is our most valued principle in more than just theory. It won't be regurgitated at staff meetings and then forgotten until next month. On a daily basis, for every single person who walks through the Human Function and Performance doors, they can expect to receive the care and compassion they would receive from their own family members. This means there will be no overselling, or underselling. If your issue typically takes 8 weeks to resolve and you will do best with 7 in person sessions to progress toward your goal, then that will be the recommendation you receive. If you cannot do that, then we will do whatever we can with a modified plan that matches your expectations. If we find a better, faster way to get people better, we will do it. If a patient needs someone's help from outside our doors, they will receive that recommendation immediately. In all situations, under any circumstance, what is best for patients will be our highest priority.
What drove me to go out on a whim and start a practice where I knew no one and had little chance for success was that my current situation, and all of the situations I saw around. Physical therapy practices were not doing what was best for patients. Some options were decent, many were not. Without the opportunity to fashion a practice that always put patients first, I knew I would not be satisfied. That being said, we have changed the physical therapy game. We see a majority of patients once per week or less, we offer in between session email and text access to ensure results are being made, and we do not waste time on ineffective treatments. With a practice that is designed to optimize outcomes, our #1 referral source has been our patients.
2) First Understand, Then Be Understood
Have you ever been to a doctor to find out if something is going wrong with yourself or a loved one. Then as soon as you sit down and start telling your story you get a "here's what it sounds like is going on..... Take this for 2 weeks and then come back if your not feeling better." I had that happen once when I got an infection from scratching my ankle with golf spikes. The doctor didn't even know how I'd gotten the injury before he told me to try hot soaks and this antibiotic. I walked out with several assumptions about his cognitive aptitude that were likely incorrect, but the experience was so awful it impacted my perception of him. I began falling into this behavior when I was forced to see 3-5 patients an hour at my first clinic here in Texas. I would let patients get about 45s to a minute into their story before the anxiety of ("I have 4 patient's waiting on me") spiked and I felt I had to cut my patient off. "Here is what you need, get started and ill be back to check on you." That method of "treatment" did not work very well for me or my patients. Nowadays on a daily basis I hear from patients, "My PT at ... was great, I mean, I didn't get any better but he was really nice."
With an appropriate amount of time, patient's often come to their own conclusions of what needs to happen for them to get better. As a guide, this makes my job easy. As a health care practitioner, this makes my job satisfying. After succeeding with patient after patient, I truly believe that first understanding why someone is coming to see you, then moving into how you can help is the only way to practice physical medicine. When patient's come to Human Function and Performance, they can expect at least one hour with a Doctor to come to a solid understanding of why they are having a problem, and precisely how they are going to fix it. All treatments are conducted this way as well so there is appropriate time to reassess and make modifications as necessary.
3) Inspire Resiliency
Humans are not glass houses. There are people, practitioners, and friends who would tell you "X is bad for your back" "You shouldn't do X or your knees will wear out" and all manner of ridiculous claims. The truth is, everything people think about "wear and tear" and the fragility of our species is incorrect. As we increase the demand on our bodies, our bodies adapt and become stronger. Some demands need to be aimed at resolving a painful issue, some need to be aimed at improving health. Some demands need to be reduced to allow the body to adapt but that does not mean we are "breaking down," it means we need more recovery to continue adapting. Long before I began pitching the anti-fragile mindset publicly I had patients come in and say "my friend said I need to come see you because you are the only one who understands that I need to move." When people, practitioners and friends discourage movement, they are coming from a place of sincerity. They have had a bad experience and want to help you avoid the same. However, life is not all butterflies and rainbows. Parts of life are painful, stressful, and difficult to overcome. But, life goes on. Once you understand how to get yourself out of pain, you will understand just how strong you truly are. If that is all we provide our patients, then we have achieved something that few other practitioners can do. If you need a guide to help you move on from a physical stressor, a Human Function and Performance Doctor is the guide you have been looking for.
4) Under Promise, Over Deliver
When someone is looking for someone to help them with a problem, they want to know they are in the right place. If we can help, we will tell you. If we cannot, we will tell you. What we might not tell you is that your posture may spontaneously improve, your other pain points may resolve, your breathing may become easier or that we will be there when we are on vacation to help guide you through that new hard exercise via text. We might not tell you that your perception of PT will drastically change and you will no longer dread going to a doctor's appointment, but you might.
5) Keep The End In Mind
The process of injury rehabilitation or pain recovery is not always easy, it's not always quick, but when it's over the relief can be overwhelming. Just to be able to do what you want to do without worrying about how it's going to feel is truly an amazing feeling that we take for granted. Throughout the recovery process it can be frustrating, especially if you don't understand exactly what you are doing to solve your problem. The body is a complex structure. Occasionally issues that are not directly on top of your pain need to be addressed in order to achieve lasting relief. When you truly understand why you are doing what you're doing and how it is going to help, it's a lot easier to trust the process and stay consistent with your program. This makes the results dramatic. As practitioners it is our job to guide you and show you how you are going to achieve your goals of pain relief, activity tolerance and improved performance through easy to understand conversations. No snake oil, no magic, no "just trust me's." Cold hard science, test-retest interventions, and lasting results.