In an interview on the Rusk Insights on Rehabilitation Medicine podcast, Steven R. Flanagan, MD, the Howard A. Rusk Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, chair of the department of rehabilitation medicine, and medical director of Rusk Rehabilitation, spoke about value-based medicine, PM&R’s role, and applicable research at Rusk:
Recently, we conducted a research pilot study examining the utility of enhancing rehabilitation services in the intensive care unit. There had been some previous work done at other hospitals showing that providing rehab exercise to people in an intensive care unit, patients there—even if on a ventilator—saw a decrease in length of stay. We took that a step further by providing not just increased physical therapy, but increased occupational therapy and speech therapy services, and showed the same outcomes—decreasing the length of stay in the ICU and in the hospital, a major contributor to health care costs. But we were also able to show, for the first time, that the need for health services post-discharge decreased too—an even greater savings.
If we are doing things like leading early mobilization processes in the ICU and making sure that total joint replacement patients are getting their very first rehabilitation intervention the day of their operation, we are on a path to improve mobility, get folks out of the hospital quicker, and improve their function. All of these add up to better outcomes at reduced costs. That’s what rehabilitation can do.
I think that we can thrive in this new health care environment by showing the tremendous value physical medicine and rehabilitation plays in the overall health of patients.
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