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Life & Work with Brad & Kristina Jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brad & Kristina Jones.  

Hi Brad & Kristina, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Brad and my introductions to physical therapy, and how we actually met each other, were working for a local insurance-based orthopedic clinic 20 years ago that had multiple locations throughout San Diego. While working in this traditional physical therapy setting, it was frustrating limiting services to specific body parts, being pushed to use modalities, and using pre-determined exercise sheets. Under these restraints, a patient who is an active individual will not be prepared to integrate back into the demands of their lifestyle. The short-term mindset of healthcare and insurance coverage creates a gap between basic functional goals (sit-to-stand, sitting / standing tolerance, and walking tolerance) to the athletic demands of healthy living.

The only option for these discharged patients was attempting a return to their hobby sport, or seeking out a continuation of their care elsewhere. This puts the physical rehabilitation of individuals in the hands of private alternative healthcare workers, which typically will bend the scope of their practices to fit the needs of a patient’s goals. Unfortunately, a patient recovering from injury or surgery is not ready to jump from traditional physical therapy to personal training sessions. A gradual continuation is necessary for the mechanical corrections of rehab training to transition to the physical challenges of performance training, and skipping any steps will probably put an individual back into an injured state.

Another frustrating aspect of the traditional physical therapy system was the lack of manual therapy. Hands on assessments were limited to documentation markers, and treatment techniques were not an acceptable option. Manual therapy is a valuable tool, which needs to be very specific and purposeful. These sessions take time including assessment, treatment, response, and reassessment. No gadgets replace the effectiveness of skillful hands on methodology.

Lastly, billing restrictions have taken a toll on a traditional physical therapy clinics ability to see enough patient volume per day. This means having multiple patients overlapping under the supervision of a single physical therapist. Unfortunately, this format loses corrective elements to exercise, and individual care for patient differences.

The frustrations and limitations of the traditional physical therapy system was the push necessary to create b project. Brad and I wanted to offer patients an alternative to the conventional rehabilitation procedure. Our thought was to create an environment where the treatment of the individual is individual. Our philosophy would be a results driven model including tailoring sessions to maximize progression, with the underlying long-term goal of returning a client to their active lifestyle better than ever. We understood our methodology was not for everyone, and most were fine using their insurance. Our population would be the individuals looking for more, with a priority on their health; we would provide them the higher standard they deserved. The b project system only works with the clients paying out of pocket due to the limitations of traditional physical therapy. This unique process allows us to prioritize an individual’s injury prevention and wellbeing for long-term health.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been anything but a smooth road. The silver lining to all the struggles along the way is the knowledge you gain from them. Below are a few of the many obstacles we incurred.

First, we started the b project in 2009, shortly after the economy crashed. Everyone was holding onto their cash and not wanting to spend extra money because no one knew if or when the economy would bounce back.

Second, when clients would refer their friends, family, co-workers, or anyone they would have a hard time explaining exactly what we do and why it’s worth spending money on. So, a lot of times people would associate us with your traditional physical therapy clinic, but instead of being able to utilize your insurance, you would have to pay out of pocket. This lack of explanation from our clients on how we are different from your traditional physical therapy clinic, other than we don’t take insurance, was because Brad and I initially had a hard time explaining it too. It wasn’t until we worked with a marketing/business consultant that we learned how to explain who we are, what we do, and what makes us different.

Third, neither of us went to school for business. Learning how to run, operate and expand a business was a huge learning curve. And, I feel that business, like science, is constantly changing and growing. If you’re not keeping up with the changes then you’re falling behind. Luckily, over the years, we have developed a great network of people and a board of advisors to help navigate us in the right direction.

A fourth obstacle was learning how to train staff. How do we teach our aides, trainers, and physical therapists to do what Brad and I grew to innately do, so no matter who a client saw, the same rules of exercise technique applied or the same treatment technique was provided and, most importantly, the same results occurred? We created two different manuals, one that is specific to the b project’s exercise philosophy and one that is specific to b project’s treatment philosophy. They include practical tests to check one’s knowledge and verbal communication skills. We review the material in sections with the employee and have them practice what they are learning under 100% supervision. These manuals are constantly being re-evaluated and updated to ensure we are providing the best possible information. We also put on monthly in-services that educate our staff on various body parts. For example, we took an in-depth look at the foot and how someone’s anatomical alignment, whether it be caused by an injury, their lifestyle, etc., plays a part in mechanical compensations at the knee.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
One of the many things that set us apart from others is the process that we take clients through. We look and treat every client as the unique and individual person that they are. Two people might come in for the same shoulder injury, but their lifestyle, mechanical compensations, the way they respond to a session, their hobbies, etc. all require a plan of care that should be tailored to them. 

We also look at the body as a whole. A low back problem might be coming from a compensated foot, which will create mechanical compensations up the chain that results in low back pain. If we never address the compensated foot and the mechanical errors created by it, we’re never going to resolve the low back pain. 

Every client has a written training program that is specific to their goals, sport, mechanical compensations, strength differences, range limitations, joint mobility, training intensity, and overall health. Every physical therapist and Movement Strength Training Specialist is constantly evaluating and re-evaluating every time a client comes in. Their goals and abilities are constantly changing and so too should their program. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?

Constantly evaluating and re-evaluating all parts of the business to see if things  can improve. What are the processes that seem to currently be working and  which ones are no longer working and why? What are your employees saying?  What are your clients saying? What is your culture like? Do your employees and  clients feel comfortable communicating their thoughts and feelings to you? Etc. 

We feel if were not constantly reflecting and evaluating all aspects of our  business, then we are not going to continue to improve and grow as a company.

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