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While National Physical Therapy Month is a time to take pride in the physical therapy profession and celebrate its evolution, it's also a crucial opportunity to reach out to the public to share the value of physical therapy.

APTA isn't passing up that chance.

This year's outreach efforts, bolstered by the release of APTA's groundbreaking report, "The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States," are happening on multiple fronts and formats, from explanations of how the long-lasting quality-of-life improvements gained from physical therapy can lead to economic benefits, to a consumer-focused review of what physical therapy is and resources that members can use in their personal interactions with patients (and potential patients).

Here's a quick look at some of the highlights of APTA's consumer-focused efforts during National Physical Therapy Month, supported by HPSO.

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Nearly 50 Million Viewers and Listeners (and Counting) Have Learned About Physical Therapy's Role in Arthritis Management

Again this year, APTA engaged in a satellite media tour, providing local TV and radio stations across the country with the opportunity to book live and live-to-tape interviews with an APTA spokesperson on the role of physical therapy in a major health topic. This year, the focus was on osteoarthritis, including knee osteoarthritis, one of the conditions covered in the economic value report. Sherri Betz, PT, DPT, as the association's voice of the tour, explained the basics of OA and how physical therapy can help. As of mid-October, this effort has resulted in 487 airings to reach an audience of almost 50 million, with more to come.

We Delivered the Arthritis Message in Print, Too

APTA also created a short feature story in the style of a newspaper article (called a "mat release") and made it available to local print news outlets across the nation for their use. The release, "Choose to Move: 5 Ways to Help Manage Osteoarthritis," has already secured 1,177 confirmed media placements to date, with a total potential audience of 153.2 million. It will continue to grow in reach over the next several months. Want to use the release as a handout? It’s available for download in our Public Relations and Marketing Center.

A New Video, Available to Television Stations Nationwide, Shares the Basics of Physical Therapy

 

Physical therapy is now among the subjects covered in "Viewpoint With Dennis Quaid," a short-form documentary series offered to television stations across the country. The four-minute presentation shows PTs in action, accompanied by interviews with Margaret Pittman, PT, DPT, and APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA, and featuring Tim Vidale, PT DPT, MBA, along with PTs from Movement X in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The four-minute excerpt, titled “What Is Physical Therapy?” is also being shared on APTA and ChoosePT social media channels, and is viewable on ChoosePT.com for consumers. As part of this project, the public television content provider also produced a 60-second advertisement, which aired twice nationally on Fox Business News and will air 400x this month on prime stations in local markets. Both the long and short versions are available to APTA members in the APTA Public Relations and Marketing Center.

We're Connecting the Public With the Economic Value of Physical Therapy

Yes, the title can sound daunting, but the overall message of APTA's report, "The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States," is easy to understand: PT services have been found to be more cost-effective than other courses of care for eight common conditions. The public needs to know. APTA has created a campaign landing page on ChoosePT.com that houses a video, eight consumer-focused articles (one for each condition), and more that helps put the findings of the study in easy-to-understand terms. The page also offers links to ChoosePT guides to physical therapist treatment for seven of the eight conditions and a call to action to use APTA’s Find a PT tool to search for a physical therapist in their area.

We're Spreading the News — On Times Square, No Less

That's right. During the month of October, an animated ad that promotes physical therapy as the way to "Get freedom from back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel, incontinence, and more" will run on a new, 1,000-square-foot billboard in Times Square. It will garner more than 12 million impressions throughout the month. (Click on the image to see a video of the billboard.)

We're Reaching Consumers At Their Point of Need

We've invested in paid advertising that ensures the right symptom-based ChoosePT search and display ads appear to those who are searching for terms such as physical therapist, physical therapy near me, arthritis, low back pain, incontinence, and carpal tunnel syndrome (as well as related search words). The ads mimic the Times Square ad, and a click brings the consumer into ChoosePT.com, where they can learn about how a PT can help them with their specific condition, and where they can find a member PT through the APTA Find a PT database. Since Oct. 1, more than 50,000 individuals have engaged with a ChoosePT.com article that explains the benefits and economic value of physical therapy for the condition they or a loved one may be experiencing.

We Seized the (To)day

If you happened to be watching the Today Show on Oct. 12, you may have noticed some familiar faces — or some familiar signs and T-shirts. APTA members were out in force at 30 Rock to call attention to National Physical Therapy Month, and specifically to ChoosePT.com. And while there's no guarantee standing outside the studio waving signs will get you on camera, it worked for our crew. Must've been the message.

We're Making it Easy for PTs, PTAs, and Students to Reach Out — And Get Noticed

APTA's expanded public relations and marketing center is the place to go for a range of resources to help promote physical therapy during National Physical Therapy Month (or any time) and educate the public on not just what PTs and PTAs do, but how physical therapy delivers true economic value. And because, at the end of the day, it's all about increasing patient access to physical therapy, APTA will soon release a new, improved Find a PT tool on ChoosePT.com that allows consumers and referring providers to search for a PT by location; refine results based on condition, specialization, or practice focus; and filter results to show PTs by board-certified specialty or those who offer telehealth and home visits. Take advantage of this member benefit for physical therapists. View the instructions and update (or create) your Find a PT Profile today.


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