AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION STRATEGIC PLAN FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING

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1 APTA STRATEGIC PLAN FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING BOD [Amended BOD ; BOD ; BOD ; BOD ] AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION STRATEGIC PLAN FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING Among the highest priorities of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) since 1990 has been enhancing public awareness of the profession. In light of the goals set forth in APTA s Vision Statement 2020 regarding the need to ensure that physical therapists are recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health, public awareness will remain a high priority for the foreseeable future. With adoption of APTA s Plan for Transitioning to a Doctoring Profession and thus its various plans for achieving those goals six key concepts provide the framework on which the Association s goals are based. Those concepts are: Autonomous practice Practitioner of choice Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) Direct access Evidence-based practice Professionalism Although awareness by various publics is critical to the accomplishment of all of APTA s goals, those 2005 goals and objectives that are most directly related to public awareness are the following: Goal I: Physical therapists are universally recognized and promoted as the practitioners of choice for conditions that affect movement, function, and health. Objective A: Promote physical therapists to consumers and other professionals as the practitioners of choice for management of movement, function, and health. Objective B: Develop and implement strategies that support members by enhancing their ability to practice autonomously in existing and emerging practice environments. Goal III: Physical therapists are autonomous practitioners who are reimbursed for all elements of patient/client management in all practice environments. Objective A: Advocate for federal and state laws and regulations that appropriately govern physical therapist practice, with emphasis on enactment of unrestricted direct access.

2 Objective B: Improve coverage and reimbursement by public and private payers for services provided by or under the direction of physical therapists, with emphasis on unrestricted direct access. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING GOALS Pivotal to achievement of the Association s overall communication goals are the following public relations and advertising goals that serve as the foundation for this Strategic Plan: Goal I: Promote physical therapists to consumers and other professionals as practitioners of choice for the management of movement, function, and health, specifically addressing the ways in which physical therapists are uniquely qualified to manage certain health conditions. Objective A: Educate target audiences that physical therapists are practitioners of choice, autonomous practice, and evidence-based. Objective B: Develop multi-media communication tools for APTA members and component use in educating consumers about physical therapy. Objective C: Focus on health conditions related to obesity and health and wellness. Objective D: Educate insurers and case managers about physical therapy through online chats and other interactive media. Objective E: Educate APTA components about the communication tools available through the Association and ways to use them. Objective F: Assure that all images and descriptions of the physical therapy profession reflect the Vision Statement. Objective G: Develop a consumer friendly portion of APTA s Web site that will promote the physical therapy profession and educate consumers on specific conditions that physical therapists treat. Obtain permission for other health care sites and search engines to link to Goal II: Increase understanding of the role of physical therapists in the health care system. Objective A: Educate medical students and other health care professionals about physical therapy by giving presentations at medical schools and teaching hospitals. Goal III: Provide APTA members and components with affordable and timely communication tools to assist them in promoting the profession of physical therapy. Objective A: Develop a multi-media advertising campaign (television, radio, and print) for APTA member and component customization. Objective B: Consider fundraising and/or sponsorship opportunities to defray the cost of airing advertisements on a national level. Goal IV: Promote APTA s Federal legislative agenda to inform Congress and other policy makers via targeted media.

3 Objective A: Develop and implement a plan to pitch APTA s Federal legislative issues to national media. Goal V: Promote Vision 2020 to APTA members and components to ensure an understanding of the six major attributes autonomous practice, direct access, doctor of physical therapy, evidencebased practice, practitioner of choice, and professionalism. Objective A: Promote greater understanding of the tenets of Vision 2020 to clinical instructors through education programs. Objective B: Develop tracking tools to determine member awareness of Vision Objective C: Promote clinical specialists. Objective D: Develop and promote a logo for Vision 2020 for use by PT Magazine and components. Objective E: Communication of Vision 2020 and consistent marketing within the association. Goal VI: Monitor the impact of the Strategic Plan for Public Relations and Advertising and adjust priorities and activities in response to environmental and organizational factors. Objective A: Keep members informed on public relations success stories through PT Magazine. Objective B: Encourage APTA components to submit public relations success stories. Objective C: Post an APTA Public Relations Success Stories bulletin board at each national meeting. Because public relations and advertising play different roles and contribute different strengths to an integrated communication plan, it is important to understand their differences. For the purposes of this Plan, the concepts of public relations and advertising are viewed in the following ways: Public Relations is relatively inexpensive, but does not permit control of the message or where or when it appears. It allows the user to: 1) promote a variety of topics with in-depth information; 2) take advantage of spot news; 3) achieve some measure of credibility through third-party endorsement; 4) provide quick turnaround in crisis situations; and 5) create evergreen angles. Advertising is considerably more expensive than public relations, but it allows the user to: 1) control the message, the audience, and the timing; 2) assure coverage and continuity; 3) deliver impact; and 4) accelerate results. Careful consideration was given to the relative strengths of public relations and advertising, as well as to the expenses associated with each, when developing this Plan. KEY STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING PR/ADVERTISING GOALS The following key strategies are likely to aid in accomplishment of the Public Relations and Advertising Goals. These strategies are integrated into the activities described throughout the Plan.

4 In order to maximize its limited resources, the Association will focus its public awareness initiatives on carefully defined target audiences throughout the Plan years. The Association will focus on one or two key messages for each target audience in each Plan year. These messages will be determined based on diagnostic categories (for consumer audiences) and/or policy messages that are deemed most likely to be influenced by public relations and/or advertising initiatives. In addition, the Association will integrate into its message(s) to each audience references to the necessity for, and the capability of, physical therapists to practice autonomously. The Association will continue to integrate one slogan into all public relations and advertising materials throughout Plan years That brand The Science of Healing. The Art of Caring. adopted in 2002, is intended to clarify for key audiences the physical therapist s role in the health care system (ie, what physical therapists do). The Association will draw upon the vast and diverse resources of its members and its components by implementing broad-based grassroots campaigns directed to achieving one or more of the Plan goals. APTA will: 1) actively educate members and components about public awareness initiatives and provide information and tools to enable members and components to educate target audiences; 2) continually inform and update members and components of all public awareness initiatives via PT Magazine, PT Bulletin, inserts with the periodicals, the Internet, and other mediums; and 3) seek both to attract nonmembers into membership by making them aware of APTA s efforts on behalf of the profession and to gain their participation in ongoing public awareness campaigns. The Association will regularly conduct the research it may need to: 1) determine the value of target audiences; 2) determine the most appropriate message(s) for each target audience; and 3) when financial resources are available, evaluate the impact of APTA s public relations and advertising initiatives on the awareness levels of key audiences. BUDGETING Annual budgeting for public relations and advertising initiatives will be based on the ranking of APTA s target audiences for the Plan years , which in turn will link to the key elements of the Association s Plan for Transitioning to a Doctoring Profession. The costs associated with informing and educating members and providing the means for component and member involvement will be budgeted under each major initiative. TARGET AUDIENCES The Association s target audiences are those key groups of individuals whose thinking or behavior (or both) APTA wishes to influence. Target audiences comprise both internal and external groups. The target audiences for Plan years are the following: Internal: APTA members and prospective members (via internal media, Internet, and events). External: Physical therapists treat an estimated 900,000 people every day. Numerous other audiences affect or influence the ways in which physical therapists may serve their clients. To best utilize APTA s public relations and advertising dollars, the many prospective audiences that APTA may wish to influence were narrowed to five targets for Plan years ) Consumers (with special emphasis on women between the ages of 35 and 70); 2) other health care practitioners; 3) legislators and regulators; 4) insurers and payers; and 5) employers and injury care coordinators. A critical consideration in identifying these audiences was the extent to which public relations and advertising efforts might influence their understanding and behaviors.

5 The target audiences, as well as key messages and mediums for each, are listed below. Internal: APTA MEMBERS AND PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS Because the Association faces significant challenges to its resources, it must 1) enlist the vast reach of members those who have contact daily with consumers and other key audiences to assist in spreading the word about the value of physical therapy, and 2) use the opportunity to provide members with public relations and marketing materials as an example of the value of APTA membership. APTA will actively educate members about public awareness initiatives and provide information and tools to enable members to educate target audiences. Component involvement in these activities will be critical. APTA will seek to educate eligible nonmembers about APTA s public awareness efforts that benefit the physical therapy profession in an effort both to influence prospective members to join the Association and to extend the reach of our message(s). Messages to Internal Audiences Key messages to both current and prospective APTA members will focus on 1) educating them about the six concepts embedded in Vision 2020 (ie, the transition to a doctoring profession) and 2) enlisting their support in promoting these concepts to various audiences. Mediums for Internal Audiences APTA will make full use of all internal mediums (ie, magazine, journal, Internet, , events) to educate, and enlist support from, members. External Audience: CONSUMERS With an emphasis on women between 35 and 70 years of age, this is the primary target audience for Plan years (as it has been for many years) because this audience connects to and influences so many other audiences: many of its members are mothers, daughters, and wives who play an active role in the selection of health care services for their children, parents, and spouses; many (an estimated 10%) work, volunteer, and act as policy shapers; and a portion are middleaged adults (ie, between 50 and 65 years of age) who are more likely to be informed about health care and health policy issues. Some are small business employers, and most have some form of health care coverage. Because APTA s expenditures for public awareness initiatives are limited, this audience provides the greatest opportunity among general consumer audiences for reach, frequency and, thus, impact. Between 1993 and 1999, APTA invested significant resources in paid advertising efforts directed to a subset of this group women between the ages of 35 and 54 with children. Messages to Consumers To clarify the key message(s) to the primary target audience, the Association conducted focus groups in 1998 to identify: 1) what women between the ages of 35 and 54 with children know about physical therapists, 2) why they would seek the services of a physical therapist, and 3) how they know about physical therapy. Based on that research, the Advisory Panel on Public Relations recommended that the Association focus its key message(s) to this target group by diagnostic category. Using diagnostic category(ies) as a hook with which consumers may identify, the Association will integrate into all public relations and advertising materials the key messages of: Physical therapists are the practitioners of choice for examination and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that affect people s abilities to function in their daily lives. [Practitioner of Choice]

6 Direct access to physical therapists eliminates the burden, in both dollars and time, of unnecessary physician visits. It can also eliminate delays in access to physical therapist services delays that can result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients. [Direct Access] Physical therapists are well-educated health care practitioners who are leaders in rehabilitation, prevention, and promotion of fitness and wellness. Many are doctorally prepared. [Autonomous Practice, DPT] Physical therapists provide services to all individuals, regardless of age, race, and income, including those who live in underserved and minority/ethnic communities. [Practitioner of Choice, Committee on Cultural Competence] Mediums for Consumers Public Relations: Feature news releases, health tips, and special events provide an economical means of reaching large numbers of women and policy shapers in the target audience. Maintain and develop relationships with consumer-product manufacturers in order to take advantage of opportunities to include APTA s messages in product promotions (eg, Lands End backpacks, Procter and Gamble heat therapy). Internet and APTA Web Site: Develop a consumer friendly portion of APTA s Web site that will promote the physical therapy profession and educate consumers on specific conditions that physical therapists treat. Obtain permission for other health care sites and search engines to link to APTA Members and Components: Inform members and components of awareness activities prior to launching each campaign, and provide components with advertisements and feature releases for local distribution. External Audience: PHYSICIANS AND OTHER QUALIFIED NON-PHYSICIAN PROVIDERS This group includes physicians, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dieticians, and rehabilitation professionals those practitioners who are likely to influence the referral of patients/clients to physical therapists and whose own organized advocacy efforts may compete with APTA s. Messages for Physicians and Other Qualified Non-Physician Providers Physical therapists are well-educated health care practitioners; many are doctorally prepared and many more will be as the profession moves to the DPT as the entry-level professional degree. [Autonomous Practice, DPT] Physical therapists are the practitioners of choice for examination and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that affect people s abilities to function in their daily lives. You should keep physical therapists in mind for referral of your patients/clients. [Practitioner of Choice] As outlined in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, this is what physical therapy is. The practice of physical therapy is based on the patient/client management model. Mediums for Physicians and Other Qualified Non-Physician Providers

7 APTA Members and Components: Provide members and components with educational materials for use in exhibits and presentations to other groups (eg, medical students, nursing students, chapters of other professional associations, etc) at the local level. Internet and APTA Web Site: Provide links to generic health care sites as well as to sites representing diagnostic conditions (eg, National Osteoporosis Foundation, American Diabetes Association, etc) that other health care practitioners are likely to access for information. External Audience: LEGISLATORS AND REGULATORS This audience comprises federal and state policy makers. Messages to Legislators/Regulators Direct access can eliminate delays in access to physical therapist services delays that result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients. [Direct Access] Direct access to physical therapists does not promote overutilization or increase the cost of health care. [Direct Access] Liability insurers and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy affirm that direct access does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of the patients/clients seeking physical therapists services without referral. [Direct Access] Licensed physical therapists are well qualified to provide services independent of referral from physicians. [DPT, Autonomous Practice] Physical therapists are the practitioners of choice for examination and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that affect people s abilities to function in their daily lives. [Practitioner of Choice] Mediums for Legislators/Regulators Advertising: National Conference of State Legislatures publication (State Legislatures), Roll Call. APTA Members and Components: Provide members with written materials (customizable folders, brochures, etc) for use at the state and federal levels. Public Relations: Working in conjunction with Government Affairs Department, conduct state capitol fitness clinics, issue press releases, conduct other initiatives targeting legislators and regulators. Internet and APTA Web Site: Provide background information on state and federal legislative issues. External Audience: INSURERS AND THIRD PARTY PAYERS This group comprises various payers, who often are gatekeepers to consumer access to physical therapist services.

8 Messages for Insurers/Third Party Payers Direct access to physical therapists does not promote overutilization or increase the cost of health care. [Direct Access] Direct access can eliminate delays in access to physical therapist services delays that result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients. [Direct Access] Liability insurers and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy affirm that direct access does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of the patients/clients seeking physical therapists services without referral. [Direct Access] Physical therapists are the practitioners of choice for examination and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that affect people s abilities to function in their daily lives. [Practitioner of Choice] Mediums for Insurers/Third Party Payers APTA Members: Update and promote the availability of a kit for member use in presenting to insurers and case managers. Public Relations: Supplement activities in Strategic Plan for Reimbursement and other Reimbursement Department activities. External Audience: EMPLOYERS AND INJURY CARE COORDINATORS This audience comprises purchasers of health care coverage and providers of wellness programs in corporate environments. Employers purchase health care for their employees and often provide their own; they are concerned about keeping their work force healthy and well. Messages to Employers/ICCs Early intervention by physical therapists will help get injured employees back to work sooner. Prevention is the most cost-effective approach to health care. A physical therapist can help an employer comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A physical therapist can help an employer with an aging work force to keep those employees healthy. Mediums for Employers/ICCs APTA Members: Update and promote the availability of a kit for member use in presenting to injury care coordinators. Internet and APTA Web Site: Provide information on health and wellness for workers, including how to ask for inclusion of physical therapy in your health care plan. (Public Relations Department, ext 3218) [Document updated: 12/14/2009] Explanation of Reference Numbers: BOD P stands for Board of Directors/month/year/page/vote in the Board of Directors

9 Minutes; the "P" indicates that it is a position (see below). For example, BOD P means that this position can be found in the November 1997 Board of Directors minutes on Page 6 and that it was Vote 18. P: Position S: Standard G: Guideline Y: Policy R: Procedure

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