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What's in a number? By itself, maybe not much. But collect a whole bunch of the right numbers and analyze them in the right ways, and you may be on the road to improving PT practice.

In this month's issue of PT in Motion magazine: a look at how predictive analytics, sometimes referred to as probabilistic thinking, is shaping physical therapy in terms of both future practice and the here-and-now.

"The Power of Predictive Analytics" explores how "using yesterday's patient data to make informed case decisions today" is surfacing in ways big and small, from large-scale operations that involve hundreds of clinics to a physical therapy education program that asks its students to collect outcomes during their clinical internships. The article also looks how APTA's Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry is positioned to become a significant source for predictive analytics.

The PTs and other experts interviewed for the article agree on the potential for predictive analytics to change the ways PTs treat their patients. But Intermountain Healthcare's Stephen Hunter, PT, DPT, the hospital system's director of process control, believes that the benefits extend beyond the PT and into payment systems as well.

"We certainly can go to payers with this data because we have outcomes every visit," Hunter says in the article. "We can go to a payer and say 'Look, you're only approving us for six visits for low back pain. But if you look at our data from thousands of patients, we can make a bigger difference if we get eight visits.' And most payers know that if patients don't improve in physical therapy, they're going to require more expensive care."

"The Power of Predictive Analytics" is featured in the February issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers — pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA.

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