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Founding Story

Andrew Shirk taking photographs

The following is the personal story of Andrew Shirk, Founder & CEO, in his own words.

Everything Changed

On a sunny April morning in 2019, I awoke and noticed something horrifying: two fingers in my left hand had gone completely numb.

I started to panic. As a software engineer, losing control over my fingers could have a devastating impact on my career. I rushed to urgent care, only to be put in a sling, and told to wait for two weeks to see if things got better. While I felt fear and frustration throughout the process, I can’t say I was surprised.

The Most Inefficient Healthcare System

After I lost my wife to a battle with chronic pain in 2013, I suffered a series of health challenges that revealed the indignities, and inefficiencies, of the US healthcare system. Between my firsthand experiences as a patient and my engineering role in the healthcare field, I was no stranger to how challenging it is for people to get timely and effective care — especially at times they need it the most.

Several weeks later, I suddenly lost function in my other arm. It was at that moment that I knew something was very wrong, and I needed to take action on my own.

I decided to give physical therapy a try, and I booked my first appointment. It was a decision that would forever change my life.

The Art and Science of Physical Therapy

By working with my physical therapist and healthcare team, I slowly began to regain control of my body. I became fascinated by the art and science of physical therapy. My clinician brought a richness of knowledge to our sessions, and I learned that hands-on care isn’t necessary to treat many conditions – virtual consultations could be just as effective.

The more I discovered about the physical therapy profession, the more woefully underutilized and undervalued it seemed. Statistically, one out of every two American adults has a musculoskeletal (MSK) health issue each year that could benefit from physical or occupational therapy, yet only a small fraction of them ever see one. If physical therapy could make a difference for so many, why wasn’t it better understood? The answers I discovered presented a problem I couldn’t ignore.

Is Physical Therapy a Good Career?

I firmly believe this is one of the most exciting times to be a clinician — the potential for impact is nearly unlimited. But, there are serious obstacles to overcome in the short term.

More and more, traditional healthcare uses physical therapists as cogs in a machine, operating as an afterthought to primary care. They are often over scheduled to see 90+ patients per week with little room for creativity or growth. This assembly line of treatment strips away one of the most important aspects to successful treatment — the clinician-to-patient relationship, or what I refer to as “the human moment.”

How to Eliminate Burnout in Physical Therapy

I believe empowering clinicians is the key to unlocking better healthcare for millions of people everywhere. It was this notion that sparked the inspiration for CityPT.

Applying my years of experience as a lead engineer in the healthcare space, as well as a background in photography and design, I set out to build a software company and clinical practice that provides a faster, more effective model for clinicians to deliver physical therapy directly to patients.

Since that day, CityPT has partnered with clinicians across the country to do what they love most: deliver life-changing care. Our breakthrough software gives them the tools and frameworks to build and scale their practices, learn new skills, and nurture creativity. CityPT puts clinicians back in the driver's seat by offering control and ownership over their business and their future.

An Opportunity For Change

Imagine a world where all people have access to the care they deserve. This is a vision I am personally committed to. I invite you to join me and CityPT as we work together to change healthcare for the better, one human moment at a time.