APTA just released a proposed new vision statement to be considered before the upcoming House of Delegates later this summer. More about the process can be read here, but in short, the proposed vision statement reads:
“The physical therapy profession will transform society by optimizing movement for all people of all ages to improve the human experience.”
I will confess that I’ve spent a total sum of maybe 5 minutes in forming an initial reaction, but initial reactions matter with big picture “who we are” statements to the public about where we see the profession of PT going in the next number of years. Unfortunately, my first glance led me to think that a better interpretation might be “we want to be all things to all people”, almost to the point that I no longer have a clue myself as to where PT fits into the broader health care system, much less other constituents who are far less familiar with who we are. I love the idea of dreaming big, but I guess I am at a loss for why we would define ourselves in such a broad manner that it’s impossible to get your hands around what it actually means. We all recognize health care is changing, but hospitals and clinics aren’t exactly going away anytime soon. Treating patients who are hurting and don’t view their problems in terms of a “movement-related disorder” (much less physicians who have no idea what we mean when we say this) also isn’t going to change anytime soon. I do understand the rationale that Vision 2020 may have been too internally focused on the evolution of PT and certainly agree with revisiting vision statements from time to time. Nonetheless, I think we really miss the boat if we don’t continue to advocate our vision in more tangible terms using a language that is understood by the broader health care community. The notion of PTs being “practitioners of choice” and more importantly the ability of patients to “directly access” our services without a referral (perhaps one of the most fundamental keys to meaningful health care reform) as espoused in our current Vision 2020 are incredibly articulate, bold, and powerful words. More importantly, these phrases are tangible elements of a vision that lends itself to being evaluated (ie, have we gotten there yet?). “Optimizing movement” is far too nebulous, however idealistic and grand a vision it may be. The proposed statement would really benefit from some good back and forth discussion. What say you?