Athletico: Using high touch and high tech to care for athletes

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

The sports medicine field has undergone major transformations in the last 10 years as research continues to drive clinical decision-making and surgical techniques become increasingly innovative. Oak Brook, Ill.-based Athletico Physical Therapy, an outpatient provider of musculoskeletal care, is an organization that has made a name for itself in the physical therapy field.

"Athletico is part of the continuum of healthcare. We are in the trenches working with athletes to optimize their health and well-being," says Grant Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE, senior vice president of clinical operations for Athletico. "When you look at the science behind sports, it is about asking how can we optimize that individual? When everyone works together to support athletes, we can put the best-prepared athletes into the game."


Working with many of the nation's elite athletes, Athletico has an important role to play in helping these individuals excel. Since Mr. Koster joined the organization in 2001, Athletico has expanded from 10 centers to 400 centers spanning nine states, treating athletes and patients to return them to function. How does Athletico continue to grow within the musculoskelal space? The provider stays updated on the most relevant, evidence-based research available.


"Data-driven decisions have been at the forefront of what we do. Our physical therapists, athletic trainers and occupational therapists have been raising the floor and ceiling of healthcare knowledge in an evidence-based way," Mr. Koster says.


Healthcare providers today cannot forgo the importance of data in making decisions on a patient's treatment plan. Athletico providers keep a close tab on the most relevant research in the musculoskeletal field as well as track patient outcomes. One way Athletico monitors patient outcomes is through its collaboration with Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes, a company providing an outcomes quality management system. Athletico can use the data to assess how well they are doing in achieving high patient outcomes and satisfaction.


"I've never met someone who thought they were a bad physical therapist," Mr. Koster adds. "I want to put that to the test and close the loop on that initial question on where should we be focusing."


With 4,000-plus clinical and administrative staff and more than 50 specialty programs and services, Athletico continues to grow within this sector through investing in its people. Mr. Koster says Athletico wholly pays for advanced fellowship training for providers who are interested in boosting both their knowledge base and their skill set. Athletico is dedicated to equipping its therapists with the most recent research to elevate musculoskeletal care.


"Our goal is to be lifelong learners," Mr. Koster said. "We don't settle, but strive to move forward and support our people. There is a focus on excellence in everything we do and we reflect on what we do to make things better operationally, in education and patient satisfaction."


Mr. Koster will talk more about the latest techniques to care for today’s athletes in a panel entitled "The Science Behind Sports" at the 2nd Annual Chicago Sports Summit on October 4 in Chicago. The event is open to the public and hosted by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. Athletico is the title sponsor. To purchase tickets, click here

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