Newswise — San Francisco, CA.– (May 13, 2020) To ease access to needed healthcare services during the COVID-19 crisis, Physera, an app-based platform for remote physical therapy, today announced that it has launched a new direct-to-consumer service for people who have musculoskeletal (MSK) issues and pain. Previously offered only through large employers as a healthcare benefit, Physera is now providing consumers remote physical therapy (PT) services with licensed therapists. Available immediately, the service is available to consumers 13 years and older in all 50 states via a mobile device.
“The current shelter-at-home and social distancing protocols have created urgent care situations for people in need of physical therapy. Thousands of clinics have closed, surgeries have been canceled or postponed, and in many cases, people are at home left to manage their own pain,” said Dan Rubinstein, co-founder and CEO of Physera. “Telehealth access and advocacy must be a universal priority. It is critical to provide more convenient options for helping people get the relief and care they need.”
According to statistics from the CDC, out of a population of 50 million Americans, just over 20 percent have chronic pain. About 20 million have pain so severe that it limits their life or work activities. While the CDC recommends that patients go to physical therapy first for pain vs. turning to prescribed opioids and complicated surgeries, physical therapy often comes at the end of a patient’s journey instead of the beginning. Further, patients are then hindered by distance and scheduling. An Activision Blizzard study comparing Physera and Non-Physera users showed that Non-Physera patients waited an average of 65 days before starting physical therapy.
“COVID-19 has taught us that telehealth physical therapy services need to be readily available. Right now, most clinics and providers don’t have appropriate remote solutions in place - whether clinically or technologically - and to the detriment of patients, have been forced to pause care,” said Todd Norwood, PT, DPT. “Studies have already proven that telehealth physical therapy is safe and effective for a wide range of MSK conditions. Ultimately we need to find ways to enable more patients to access the care they need.”
Physera uses licensed physical therapists who can diagnose and treat a broad array of conditions - from back pain to myalgia. In 47 states and the District of Columbia, patients have the right to direct access to physical therapy, meaning they can see a PT without a doctor’s referral. Physera’s free Android and iOS app offers users a range of exercises designed to reduce MSK pain, each of which is demonstrated with in-app animations, voice prompts and other guidance. After an initial consultation, Physera’s PTs will develop a personalized daily care plan for each patient. Users have unlimited access to their PT using the built-in chat feature and video appointments.
Physera is covered for customers of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield at the same rates that patients would pay today for in-person care. For out-of-pocket customers, Physera offers a temporarily discounted flat fee of $100 for the initial video visit and assessment. Each post-assessment video visit is $50. The use of the app and remote messaging and support are free. During treatment, patients are able to use the Physera app to message their physical therapist as often as they like. More information is available at Physera.com/direct.
Devin O’Donnell is a runner who recently used Physera to address a pain issue. O’Donnell says, "As a runner, I’ve had problems with my shins for the past year and thought I might have a stress fracture.” O’Donnell continues, “ I couldn’t go to my doctor due to the coronavirus and thought that physical therapy could be a way to solve the pain without going to the doctor.
The PT that I worked with was so helpful and thorough and helped me do some exercises to troubleshoot and determine if it was a bone or muscle problem. I’m only three weeks into my treatment, but already, I am experiencing less pain. Physera has been so convenient. I am hoping to be healed and running again soon by the summer.”
Physera has been providing fully remote physical therapy since 2017 and now counts a number of the county's largest companies and biggest healthcare insurers as its clients – making Physera easily accessible to millions of Americans. The company boasts more than a 90-plus percent satisfaction rating among program participants. The Activision Blizzard study on Physers users has shown that 40 percent of patients saw their physical therapist within 24 hours of signing up and 82 percent of patients completed treatment before similar traditional patients were able to schedule initial appointments.
To learn more about Physera, visit https://physera.com/.
About Physera Physera provides high quality, evidence based virtual care for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. With a nationwide network of licensed physical therapists, Physera’s program provides care navigation, MSK triage, diagnosis, and personalized guided exercise therapy through the convenience of your smartphone. Physera’s proactive adherence encouragement achieves great clinical outcomes and reduces spend by preempting avoidable treatments and procedures such as opioids, specialist visits, imaging and surgery. Physera offers its app-based program direct to consumers, and also through Fortune 500 employers and health plans. The use of Physera has been shown to deliver better outcomes and lower costs than more traditional approaches. To learn more, visit www.physera.com.