The worldwide obesity epidemic along with the incidence of chronic disease and injury have forced the need for a preventable, medically-integrated, outcome-based healthcare model – one that utilizes medical fitness and nutritional services. However, most medical systems today lack the structure, resources and support staff to help implement financially successful and sustainable fitness programs.
The main reason many medical systems are reluctant to offer fitness programing is because insurance companies do not accept it as evidence-based methodology with appropriate governance to treat chronic disease with the utilization of personal trainers. A common concern of physicians is, “I don’t know who is qualified to serve patients with chronic injury or disease.” The medical groups are just too busy to find qualified personal trainers in their area. This creates a great opportunity for the ambitious personal trainer who is good at identifying and introducing themselves as a leader in this niche.
Some progressive groups that recognize the need and see the business opportunity have begun employing personal trainers who are responsible for implementing programs to be part of a cash-based/insurance hybrid model. Many groups that lack the resources and know-how are looking to qualified professionals that are willing, able and ready to fill the gap between fitness and medicine. Many practices will still be hesitant to add expenses and liability; therefore, this is an opportunity for a trainer to share space with a revenue share or pay rent inside the practice as an independent contractor.
The action-ready and persistent personal trainer with the proper credentials and certifications can implement the following ideas to grow in the fast-expanding field of medical fitness:
- Free health assessment (consultation)
- Functional Movement Screening
- Customized fitness session based on findings from first appointment
11. If you own a studio, consider reviewing your state laws to determine what you can do with medically-integrated diagnostic tools and tests that will differentiate you.
- Metabolic testing
- Finger prick instant-read biometrics
- Bio-impedance analysis
- Heart rate variability
- Vo2 max testing
- Digital pulse analysis
- Food sensitivity testing
12. Provide referral partners with a letter of medical necessity form to work with a personal trainer that allows clients to use health savings or flex dollars towards training services.
Consumers are seeking preventative models of healthcare and investing in themselves. With deductibles on the rise, people are contributing towards health saving accounts and are willing to invest in medically-integrated training programs. Prospective clients will seek an environment that provides safety, security, compassion and comfort that eases the fears of those who suffer from chronic disease or pain. This creates a unique selling position for any trainer staking their claim and those able to prove successful outcomes and collaboration with the medical community.
The healthcare crisis is here to stay until the medical industry finds a way to fully integrate preventative and lifestyle medicine into healthcare. Now is the perfect time for those looking to define their authority in this niche. The need and opportunity is immense as this is a relatively new and untapped market. Our current healthcare crisis has created a perfect storm for the fitness professional who is dedicated to making this strategy work. A few physician referral partners can create a steady influx of patients that can support a successful training business.
J.R. Burgess is the CEO of Rejuv Medical & MedFit. Seven years ago he partnered with Dr. Joel Baumgartner, MD, in the fight against chronic disease and pain. Together they developed a very successful non-surgical orthopedics practice that utilizes medical fitness as medicine. With their success they formed MedFit and to date have helped 33 various clinics add medical fitness in efforts of fulfilling their mission to redefine healthcare.