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PHTI Report Demonstrates that Virtual MSK Solutions Positively Impact Outcomes and Financials

The Peterson Health Technology Institute (PHTI) recently completed an independent evaluation of digital musculoskeletal (MSK) solutions through a review of more than 2,000 pieces of literature. Its intensive analysis proved that digital MSK and physical therapy (PT) solutions can reduce pain, improve outcomes, and generate financial benefits.

July 2, 2024  3 min reading

The PHTI evaluation of digital MSK solutions examined the impact that these solutions have on healthcare outcomes and economics. The patient population in this analysis included individuals with routine MSK conditions (i.e., those that arise from acute injury, repetitive motion and strains, osteoarthritis, etc.), The categories of the solutions reviewed include:

  • App-Based Exercise Therapy Solutions – These are largely patient-directed programs generated by algorithms that use data from either computer vision analysis or from sensors worn on the body. Physical therapist involvement in these solutions is minimal
  • Physical Therapist-Guided Solutions – Like the app-based exercise therapy solutions, these solutions involve patient-directed programs with feedback from computer vision analysis or from sensors worn on the body. They also have high clinician involvement, including patient onboarding support, patient exercise protocol prescription, and overall care management. They tend to involve more interaction with coaches and clinicians through synchronous and asynchronous communication.
  • Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM)-Augmented Solutions – These solutions supplement in-person PT by providing self-directed exercises between visits. They allow physical therapists to monitor patient protocols remotely and enable billing for RTM codes

Clinical Benefits of Digital MSK

The PHTI report found that:

  • App-based exercise therapy solutions improve patients’ pain compared to those that don’t complete in-person PT
  • Physical therapist-guided solutions drive improvements in pain and function that are comparable to improvements form in-person therapy
  • RTM-augmented solutions improve pain and function outcomes compared to in-person therapy alone (based on limited evidence)

Financial Benefits of Digital MSK

Regarding economic impact of virtual MSK solutions, the PHTI report found:

  • Physical therapist-guided solutions decrease spending compared to in-person PT and drive savings through avoided interventions
  • Using conservative estimations, RTM solutions can drive additional revenue of $571 for commercial patients, $314 for Medicare patients, and $220 for Medicaid patients

Implications for the MSK Care Model

The PHTI report points out that the current MSK care model drives overuse of screenings, opioids, surgery, and injections. In the current model, PT is underutilized due to long wait times, travel requirements, and time commitments. Thus, the report asserts, “eliminating barriers to PT and identifying solutions that promote adherence to PT should be a goal of healthcare purchasers and the system at large.”

Given barriers to traditional PT, the report also notes that digital MSK solutions are particularly relevant for older adults, individuals in rural areas, and individuals with mobility limitations. This is supported by evidence in the studies analyzed by PHTI, which demonstrate that digital MSK solutions improve patient adherence, engagement, and access to care.

We are energized by the results of the analysis because several of the digital MSK solutions included in the PHTI report are Kemtai customers! We are looking forward to building on our recent pilots that demonstrate strong Kemtai adherence rates. Stay tuned for more Kemtai clinical and financial outcomes data, and feel free to reach out with any questions.