VP of Clinical Operations

VP of Clinical Operations – Joshua Schueller

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Save 40% on Unlimited Medbridge CEUs with promo code TNCPT!

This week’s spotlight is on Joshua Schueller, a PT who is now Vice President of Clinical Operations for AxioBionics LLC!

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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?

Joshua Schueller, MSPT – Vice President of Clinical Operations for AxioBionics LLC

What additional roles do you currently have?

As VP of an ever expanding medical device company, each day has a good variety of activities that I partake in.

  • Educate potential clients, clinicians, and business leaders on the benefit of our wearable technology.
  • Evaluate, test, and fit clients with our wearable therapy.
  • I am active in research projects (two completed), and sales and marketing.

Where are you located?

Ann Arbor, MI

Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?

Grand Valley State University. I graduated in 2001.

What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?

Initially, out of PT school I was employed in an outpatient orthopedic PT clinic. I progressed over my eleven years to clinical manager and clinical director for several clinics, while still seeing patients with a wide array of diagnoses.

In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?

After eleven years, I shifted to in-home physical therapy, seeing a variety of neurological, orthopedic and geriatric patients.

What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?

I enjoyed being able to treat orthopedic diagnoses and the professional growth in becoming McKenzie certified.  I embraced being able to improve patient outcomes and improve patient independence, and enjoyed the challenge of balancing upwards of twenty patients a day.

What else have you done since then, prior to becoming VP of Clinical Operations?

I also have been active in the MPTA, and worked as a home PT for eight years.

When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?

The continual emphasis and constraint put on the PT in regards to documentation and restrictions from insurance companies has taken away the PT’s ability to focus on patient outcomes and what is best for the patient.

Expectations were to have impeccable paperwork and less focus on patient outcomes. I became a PT to help people, and increase functional mobility and independence–not to document for 80% of the visit.

What are you doing these days?

Several years ago, I decided to take a leap of faith and was hired by AxioBionics LLC. We have developed Wearable Electrical Stimulation Therapy Systems for people with neurological conditions and pain.

Our innovative use of E-stim (not TENS) allows users to benefit for 8-10 hours a day. This has allowed me to improve functional independence and improve quality of life in people with disabilities that haven’t found success with traditional therapies.

I am able to clinically help individuals without restrictions, I’ve published clinical studies, and I am publishing medtech reviews on the latest non-invasive treatment techniques.

I’m also on the advisory board for IPHA (Integrated Pain Healers Alliance), which is a group of professionals who explore treatments that focus on non-invasive non-pharmacological techniques IPHA performs medtech review and spotlights the leading medical technology. This is a valuable resourse for clinicians to stay educated on innovative treatment options that are not part of the traditional treatment model.

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Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?

I work PRN for home health agencies.

What percentage of your time is spent clinically vs. non-clinically?

10% in traditional therapy settings and 90% non-traditional settings.

How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?

I worked with a patient who suffered a stroke. She was using AxioBionics products, and she was seeing results quickly after becoming stagnant with traditional PT. After meeting with the owners of AxioBionics, I saw an unique opportunity to reinvent myself and still make a difference in people’s lives.

Did you do anything special to your resume and cover letter to land the job?

I made my resume as well-rounded as possible. The little things make a huge difference.

How would you recommend someone stand out as a candidate?

In today’s world, building relationships is the most important aspect of obtaining a job. A resume gets you in the door, but separating yourself from the competition is the key.

How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?

I believe many clinicians share my frustration with the current model of care. Being trained and educated as a PT, we don’t believe we can be successful outside of the clinical world.

Clinicians underestimate their abilities; they are selling and marketing every day in patient care. Selling patients on the benefits of home exercises, and more. Clinicians are great educators and communicators which is essential for success in the non-clinical world.

Being able to build relationships and communicate in an effective way is key to success.

What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?

I have several responsibilities on any given day, including:

  • Evaluation and fitting of our products
  • Educating healthcare professionals and clients on the benefits of our products
  • Sales and marketing
  • Business development
  • Forming strategic alliances

What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?

The biggest reward is seeing someone who has dealt with pain or their neurological condition for years be able to move their arm, or walk, or have no pain.

The biggest challenges are educating people on the benefits our products, and funding.

How did your clinical background prepare you for this role?

My clinical background has been essential in my success. Whether working with clients or health care professionals, people see me as a PT first, and not as a salesman.

My interaction with people is seen through my clinical lens. This allows me to talk to them as a clinician, not someone looking for a sale. I can relate to what they are going through because I have seen it in the clinic for years. Instead of selling exercises or treatment techniques, I am selling a medical device.

Also, being able to talk to other therapists in their language helps to build relationships.

What type of person do you think would do well in your role?

The type of person who would excel in this job is someone who can communicate with clients, physicians, business leaders, medical professionals appropriately.

Editor’s note: Interested in reading about another PT in the executive suite? Check out this spotlight on Ian Klaes, PT, who is Vice President and Franchise Owner at Caring Senior Service!

Do you work remotely or onsite?

A combination of both. Post-COVID, Zoom is an appropriate and in most cases the preferred mode of doing business.

Does AxiosBionics hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles?

We are currently looking to partner with therapists in all roles. Therapists could be paid clinicians for us, or sales and marketing, depending on needs and location.

Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?

I have done an extensive amount of research on many different subjects. “How To Get The Most Out Of Marketing: An Action Plan For Small Business Owners” by Zev Asch is a must read, even if you work in a clinic.

What is a typical career path for someone in your role?

If you build solid relationships and strategic alliances, there is no “typical career path”; the only limitations are the ones you put on yourself.

What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?

As I continue to evolve in my AxioBionics career, I will look for opportunities to educate and advocate for people that have not had success with the traditional treatment model. Products are being developed daily that claim to help people.

I want to be able to form a trusted platform that both professionals and consumers can go to for reliable, valuable information.

What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a clinical operations role like yours?

Only you can limit your success. Never think, “I can’t do that because I am a PT or OT or PTA.”

Only think, “I CAN do this because I am.”

Every single one of you beat the odds and passed your boards, and you can do anything.

What would you like to change most in the PT profession?

The reliance healthcare professionals have on “traditional” treatments, and the lack of exposure to safer, more effective “alternative” treatments.

What career advice would you give yourself that you wish you had during school?

Be well-rounded in your education.

Only you can make you the best version of you. Don’t let others limit your potential. Surround yourself with promotors, not downers.

Stuck in a rut and unsure how to kickstart your non-clinical career? Non-Clinical 101 covers 25 non-clinical career paths (including sub-focuses), which is why we have success stories galore from folks in clinical operations!

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