Adding Advanced Rehabilitation Technology is a difficult decision for administrators

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Simon Reagan
Reagan Simpson

This short paper presents an interesting view of Reagan Simpson, President Saint Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Overland Park, Kansas

“The decision to add advanced technology to a rehabilitation unit or facility is one that is often difficult to make for administrators.  The primary challenge is found in the fact that the associated costs are not counterbalanced by reimbursement specific to this advanced technology.  It is clear, however, that technology is playing an increased role in provision of rehabilitation.  This is not an all or nothing argument.  Rehabilitation will always depend on those high quality physicians and therapists who have long been doing this work.  In my opinion, the best programs partner excellent medical care, with functional intervention provided by high quality therapists, and supplement this with advanced technologies to maximize patient outcomes.  

It remains the case that we cannot point to a traditional return on investment model when considering addition of technology.  That said there are a number of factors that can, and should be taken into account.  Positive impact on staffing mix, staff longevity and retention, market separation, and the realized reimbursement per patient day, all can be argued for.  Ultimately, however, the most important arguments relate to patient outcomes.  I strongly believe that the key role of rehabilitation is to return patients to their homes.   When treating patients in the therapy environment described above, technology can add efficiencies and overall volume of repetitions beyond what we previously were able to provide.  This new model ideally can provide patients with what they have always wanted:  to recover, to get better sooner, and to return to their lives.  We as rehabilitation providers hold the same goals for our patients, and technology should be looked at as a partner towards reaching these outcomes.”

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