It has been just over a year since I started working at SPARK. This has made me reflect on my experiences here and just how different SPARK really is.
A cash-based practice completely changes the patient experience and, as a result, my own experience. Since starting at SPARK, I only see one client at a time. I have time to delve into how each client’s mobility and stability alter their mechanics, how this impacts their pain and function and ultimately the cause of each patient’s complaint. I have anywhere between 30 to 35 patient visits per week, far below the numbers I hear from colleagues in other settings. This allows me to fully consider complicating factors during examination and treatment ,and truly decreases time to recovery and improves outcomes.
The cash-based practice also means my clients hold me to a higher level of service and outcomes. This higher demand has pushed me to learn more, and examine each patient further, and has resulted in my patients achieving more, much faster. Since joining SPARK, my knowledge has expanded further to include the SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) which provides increased insight into the concept of regional interdependence. It provides a clear picture illustrated by something we say here a lot – that you need to look at the whole door, not just one hinge to see the whole movement picture. At SPARK, patient care means that we have time to listen to the story about why a client’s dog licks the walls and how this resulted in them scrubbing the wall until underlying shoulder dysfunction emerged in the form of posterior shoulder pain. Key stories like this are often missed in PT mills as patient time is limited.
Most importantly, working at SPARK has taught me that the healthcare industry DOES have the ability to change. We like to constantly inform and teach our clients. At SPARK, I see clients are more informed about their issues and greater advocates for themselves with healthcare providers than I have ever seen before. They constantly demonstrate to me that they understand and want to learn more. By changing how our clients think, I see them requiring more treatment options and better explanations from other healthcare providers. This is how we can truly begin to change our healthcare system – by making its participants more responsible and self-motivated and holding its providers to a higher standard of care.
We are often asked by physical therapy students if we envision the physical therapy field moving toward or away from what SPARK looks like. There are not many clinics like SPARK in the U.S. but we see some movement toward more. We are growing– we need more space and will eventually need more skilled manual physical therapists. This comes from a demand from clients for quality, one-on-one, all the way well care. People have tried the PT mills and the endless prescriptions. They want more and we want to give it to them.
Dr. Kristen A Lattimore, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMTPT is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified
Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist. She has also had experience as an athlete and coach of the speed and jumping side of Track and Field. She is passionate about integrating her knowledge and experience with fast and powerful exercise into the practice of physical therapy. She also enjoys working with patients whose concerns and complaints have been overlooked and perpetually deferred to the next medial professional.
Kristen continues to challenge herself with varied exercise including interval running, weight lifting, yoga, and Pilates. She is passionate about making her patients their best selves and adding power and intensity back into physical therapy. She can be reached at [email protected].