ALEXANDRIA, VA: The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has hired Richmond, VA-based CRT/tanaka to create and implement a branding campaign to promote direct access by consumers to physical therapists as well as the profession of physical therapy in general.
Deborah Myers, CRT/tanaka SVP and health practice leader, said that consumers today sometimes obtain physical therapy directly through private practices but also often obtain it through their primary care physicians, hospital, nursing homes, or other indirect means.
Direct access is what the industry seeks, though, in keeping with APTA's Vision 2020 plan, first introduced in 2000, to have physical therapists be doctors of physical therapists with autonomous practices.
"There's a lot of confusion about where you can get physical therapy," Myers said. "Our task is to develop a brand platform that allows us to position the physical therapists as a practitioner of choice. We know [this] is certainly a practice that is going to be needed more and more in the future as baby boomers age and as adults become more active in their later years."
To develop the campaign, which is planned for launch in the summer of 2008, the firm will conduct quantitative and qualitative research with consumers, APTA's more than 66,000 members, physicians, insurers, hospital administrators, and legislators to understand how the physical therapists are perceived and how best to go about building awareness of the field.
"It's complicated when you get to what insurance covers and doesn't cover," Myers said. "Legislative issues have more to do with how each state is different in terms of direct access to physical therapy and other services, [so] that's where we will want to build awareness among legislators."
Neither the terms of the deal nor the other agencies under consideration were disclosed. CRT/tanaka was awarded the contract in May.