We live in a capitalistic society, thank heavens. Consumers demand products and services, and then companies and people arise to the occasion to make a profit. The hope is that both benefit from this system: competition leads to better products, and businesses thrive.

I have seen this process as a consumer for years. It makes sense, it works, and it empowers people to demand better services and products. Most of us (at least, nowadays) make decisions based on reviews online–research products before purchasing, compare prices online and at different stores, etc. We are empowered to make choices, and we make those choices based on the information we collect.

When it comes to physical therapy or most things in the medical field, this way of thinking has, for the most part, been overlooked. We accept the notion that all doctors are created equal. All physical therapy is “the same.” We will spend plenty of time deciding which grocery store has the best prices and which restaurant provides the best service and quality of food.  Yet, we will just blindly accept a referral to an MD or physical therapist without researching outcomes, patient satisfaction, or even cost. For everything else we consume, we ask questions and demand the most for our money. When it comes to health care, though, we settle. We forget that health care–like any other industry–should earn our hard earned money. We should seek the best service and the best outcomes.

Not all physical therapy is the same. Not all therapists are as good as others. If we demand quality therapists and therapy, they must rise to the occasion.  If they do not, their bottom line will suffer, and that is a good motivator for most people to improve the quality of their service.