The Benefits of Collaboration Between Your Specialist and Physical Therapist – Part 2

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After collaborating for many years, Dr. Bartoli and James have established a pattern of understanding the root cause of a patient’s pain/injury. In this second part of the interview, they tell us about their approach and how it benefits a patient’s overall health care.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. Click here for part 1 of the series.

Interview continued….

Dr. Bartoli: People don’t have a lot of time. When I worked in the clinic in the eighties, patients came for therapy three days a week. I’m lucky I get someone in there once a week, let alone twice a week, and then insurance coverages or what they don’t cover or, you know, all of that gets brought into the picture. So you need these patients to see results and feel like they’re on a path that’s moving them in the right direction.

James: Yeah, and I’ll speak specifically on the physical therapy side; not all practice models give enough time to the patient to see these different levels, which is an unfortunate thing that I see in physical therapy. A lot of practices are heading more toward this, volume-based practice. And I understand it because of insurance issues. But there has to be a balance. And, and that’s something that I’m just going to insist upon (and I know Lisa will too) and this is how we’re going to work.

Dr. Bartoli: You need somebody who’s going get you there fast. So you’ll go to this one place, spend half as much time, and get better as opposed to going somewhere else in your insurance network where you may go twice as long and not get to where you need to be. 

James Fowler Office: Based on your experience of working with James, what advice would you give to other practitioners when building these types of collaborative partnerships?

Dr. Bartoli:  Don’t be caught up in your degree, you know, and how many letters you have after your name. Because let me tell you something, and I tell the med students this, the more I learn, the less I know, right?  Don’t be so guarded and defensive; reach out if you’re not sure, and ask a question.

Some people are more responsive and receptive to that than others. And you’ll figure that out as you go. You’ll build a good relationship with those practitioners. And they’ll teach you what they know. If I were a PT, I would spend time with James and learn from him.

I just had a patient the other day say to me, oh, my therapist doesn’t, doesn’t do any hands-on work. They don’t believe in that.

Okay. So all that soft tissue work, we don’t need any of that. This is a young graduate, you know, who’s got the doctor after their name and everything else, but that’s not like you need a little bit of everything. I get it. You don’t want to do hands-on manual work. You need some exercise to stabilize all the soft tissue work you’ve just done, but you need a, a good balance. And I think James is great at figuring out that balance.

James Fowler Office: Thank you so much, Dr Bartoli.

James: First of all, I wanted to say thank you because, without you and a couple of others, I wouldn’t have the practice that I would have without your support and your trust. That is something from the bottom of my heart.  I continue to love to do what I do because I have this relationship with you and with others. And that’s the best part. And I’ll say this; it’s the 50-50 relationship because when it’s the triad between a patient, the doctor, and the PT, we all have our contributions to be getting better.

And most importantly, the patient has to want to get better.

Dr. Bartoli: Must be an active participant.

James: Exactly. Active participant. And that is something that we both understand and when we see that’s not happening, we have to make a change. The best thing about working with Lisa is that she understands that. And, that’s where the collaboration becomes its best.

For more information on Dr. Bartoli’s practice, please visit Dr. Bartoli’s Website.

About Dr. Lisa Bartoli

Lisa M. Bartoli, D.O. is a physician in private practice specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Prior to opening her current practice, she was an Attending Physician at the world-renowned Mt Sinai Beth Israel Center for Health and Healing. She currently has Volunteer Physician status with the Department of Orthopedics at Mt Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. 

Her practice is focused on outpatient integrative sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, non-operative spine pain, Osteopathic manual medicine, and medical acupuncture. 

About James Fowler

James Fowler - Physical Therapist in NYC

With over 20 years of experience in Sports Medicine and Movement Science, James Fowler, P.T., ACSM, CEAS has been owner of James Fowler P.T. since 2001. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Physical Education. In 1994, after coming to New York, he earned a degree in Physical Therapy from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. He is certified in Active Release Techniques and has advanced training and hands-on experience in Spinal Manipulation and Myofascial Release Techniques. He is a certified Exercise Specialist by the American College of Sports Medicine and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Before opening his practice, James spent seven years at Beth Israel Medical Center, specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. While at Beth Israel, he coordinated the Motion Analysis Laboratory, developed an evaluative tool for the analysis of running, golfing, and throwing, and was featured on the CBS Morning News Program describing “Motion Analysis for Golfers.” James was also the official physical therapist for the New York Knicks and New York Liberty Basketball teams, providing rehabilitation and movement analysis for performance enhancement. While at Berkeley, he was a Division I Middle Distance Runner and moved in the role of Assistant Coach under Erv Hunt, the future 96 Olympic Track and Field coach, making James especially attuned to the needs of athletes. 

In addition to his dedication to his private practice, James developed an innovative program for children, KIDSMOVE, to teach sports in a positive environment. James also developed “The James Approach”, a movement re-education program for high level amateur and professional golfers to improve swing efficiency and body awareness. 

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