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Industry Insights
The Role of Virtual and Hybrid PT in the Future of MSK Care
Industry Insights

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of high-value, accessible healthcare. By shifting visits from offices to online platforms, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth and opened doors to a different kind of care—one that prioritizes member satisfaction above all else.  

This is especially true in musculoskeletal (MSK) and orthopedic care where the rapid growth of virtual physical therapy (PT) continues to demonstrate clear advantages for patients, clinicians, and payers alike. From improved engagement to better outcomes to cost-savings, virtual PT is flexing its staying power to transform the MSK landscape from 2023 to 2024 and beyond.

Virtual MSK care can stand alone, data says

As the U.S. government reviews several bills that would enshrine the flexibilities extended to telehealth services during the pandemic, more reports are surfacing that prove the value of virtual MSK care. One recent study shows that digitally-enabled MSK care can not only stand alone as a modality, it may be more effective than in-person care, with data showing it reduces the need for in-person follow-up visits by 24 percent (Gerhart, 2023).  

How virtual PT contributes to care success  


In traditional physical therapy, logistical barriers to care (such as transportation, time away from work, and childcare) can drive non-adherence rates as high as 70 percent. Virtual PT not only removes these obstacles–it also improves accountability and strengthens the patient-clinician relationship by providing patients with focused one-on-one care in a comfortable setting.  

Clinicians appreciate the increased access as well. “I love the fact that we are truly one-on-one, face-to-face with our patients,” said Patrick Myers, PT, DPT, OCS, an Orthopedic Board Certified Physical Therapist at Vori Health. “Most traditional PT clinics book two, three, or even more patients simultaneously, making true engagement nearly impossible. I love that when I learn about a patient and why they are with Vori, I can help them bridge from rehab to wellness and fitness, and structure lifelong health habits—without them ever having to leave home.

Additionally, advancements in motion tracking technology now offer patients easy and enjoyable ways to keep up with home exercise programs without clunky sensors or wearables. At Vori Health, access to these patient-centered offerings helps swing the engagement pendulum to the complete other side, with 85 percent of members completing their plan of care.


Not surprisingly, better compliance begets better outcomes. As part of a multidisciplinary doctor-led MSK care program for lower back pain, virtual PT helped contribute to significant improvements in pain in 91.6 percent of patients, with average pain scores decreasing by more than 60 percent at the completion of care (VI, 2023).


According to a recent healthcare consumer experience survey by Accenture, today’s patients value access, ease, trust, and outcome-focused care (Accenture, 2023).  Virtual PT ticks every box and is a significant driver behind Vori Health’s ability to maintain high member satisfaction with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90.

“Patients share with me all of the time how much they enjoy being able to get physical therapy where and when it works for them, whether that’s from the comfort of home, or when they are traveling, or even at their place of work,” says Jared Aguilar, PT, DPT, Vori Health physical therapist.


By driving value to the patient first, evidence-based virtual care is far more cost-effective than traditional care. Validated research with patients with lower back conditions show that engaging in a doctor-led virtual MSK program not only improves pain, but also reduces surgery, imaging, and injections–all common drivers of skyrocketing costs of MSK care (VI, 2023). When integrated with specialty non-operative medical care at Vori Health, virtual PT helps generate up to a four times return on investment.

The future of MSK is not virtual only, but hybrid

By forecasting upcoming trends, Vori Health stays ahead of the curve with treatment options that adapt alongside member preferences and industry demands. This includes moving beyond virtual-only PT into a hybrid care model that offers flexibility to meet all types of member preferences and circumstances.

Patients like choice, and while many enjoy the convenience of in-home care, some still prefer to go in-person. To meet the next wave of patient-centered offerings, Vori Health pioneered the only nationwide hybrid network for musculoskeletal care.  With a sprawling network of in-person clinics in the 200 largest metropolitan areas nationwide, Vori Health members can now receive care either via a telehealth platform or in-person.

I love being able to enhance a patient’s wellbeing using hybrid care models,” said Calandra White, PT, DPT, a Vori Health physical therapist. “Hybrid care might include treating the patient in-person and online depending on their need, completing self-guided exercises in an app, communicating with patients via chat features and monitoring devices, or working with patients collaboratively with an online health coach or dietician to further optimize outcomes.”

Virtually-enabled and hybrid PT will only gain momentum in the new year as stakeholders continue to recognize the clinical, financial, and logistical advantages of telehealth MSK care. Learn more about how innovative doctor-led PT programs can boost engagement and drive value for your MSK strategy.


  • APTA, 2021: American Physical Therapy Association. Impact of COVID-19 on the Physical Therapy Profession Over One Year. May 2021. Accessed August 22, 2023.  
  • VI, 2023: 2023 Validation Report. Validation Institute.
  • Naidu, 2022: Naidu I, Ryvlin J, Videlefsky D, Qin J, Mowrey WB, Choi JH, Citron C, Gary J, Benton JA, Weiss BT, Longo M, Matmati NN, De la Garza Ramos R, Krystal J, Echt M, Gelfand Y, Cezayirli P, Yassari N, Wang B, Castro-Rivas E, Headlam M, Udemba A, Williams L, Gitkind AI, Yassari R, Yanamadala V. The Effect of a Multidisciplinary Spine Clinic on Time to Care in Patients with Chronic Back and/or Leg Pain: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis. J Clin Med 2022;11(9):2583.
  • Gerhart, 2023: Gerhart J, Piff A, Bartelt K, et al. (2023, June 29). Fewer In-Person Follow-Ups Associated with Telehealth Visits than Office Visits.

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