I thought that today I would write a post that is not exactly the most practical or clinical (which is generally the way I like to do things) but one that is more thought provoking. I haven’t written a light-hearted blog-style post in a little while, so here it is.
Are you a young(ish) sports physiotherapist? Then what changes in the world of physiotherapy do you think you will you see within your career that may expand over the next 30+ years?
THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD
To think about the future of physiotherapy, you must first consider the future of our world in general. The future, it seems, will be driven by technology. I suppose that it would be easy to think of our world as quite similar to what it is now, but with cooler gadgets – like holographic mobile phones. However, I think we all know that in reality there will be many things that change.
THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS
The world of business is likely to change. It has been suggested that there will be large shifts in the types of businesses that can survive this new world. Our worlds are increasingly becoming online. As an example, newsagents are likely to fail to exist as they currently do. The new generations do not purchase newspapers or magazines, they read online newspapers and blogs. Thus, newsagents will have to change or fail. Whilst this is an easy example to understand, I am certain that the impact of technology will have a reach much further than your local paper shop.
THE FUTURE OF HEALTH
Innovations in the world of health are going to be absolutely incredible. I would suggest that the improvements over the next 30 years are going to eclipse the improvements that have occurred over the previous 30. There will be advances in the realms of medicine, surgery, pharmacy, radiology, and of course physiotherapy.
THE FUTURE OF SPORTS
What sports will the population be playing in 30 years? Will rugby and football still be a part of our culture. Or will MultiBall and DipCheezy be the new popular sports of the world (yes, I definitely made those sports up). The $64000 question for us becomes will the athletes that undertake these sports even get injured, or will injuries be prevented by rules/equipment/technology and superior training/preparation techniques?
THE FUTURE OF PHYSIOTHERAPY
So what impact will these changes have on the future of physiotherapy? The current business model of private physiotherapy practice may (or may not) be strong enough to survive the challenges of the future. Although, it is quite possible that it may have to change to meet the differing demands of future generations. If you can predict these changes in the market – please let me know!!
Want to think of something scary? What happens to us if they invent patellofemoral joint dysfunction pills – which improve VMO and proximal hip strength and loosen lateral knee structures? Sound crazy, I think it is, but I guarantee in the past they thought seeing INSIDE someone was crazy too. Not so crazy is the likelihood that pain medications will improve, and side-effects will reduce, and that less people will seek out physiotherapy treatment secondary to pain.
Remember, in the future we will be treating the McDonald’s Drive-Thru generation. They will want the quick-fix and want it NOW. If there is a pill/injection/futuristic laser, 6 – 12 weeks of strengthening exercises is just not gonna happen. Maybe we should hope that the futuristic physiotherapists (read: us) are the ones holding those lasers?