"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do Physical Therapists make a Diagnosis?

Do most physical therapists make a diagnosis before they start treating a patient?

Do physical therapist assistants require a diagnosis from their physical therapist before they begin to treat a patient.

I've asked that question in the form of a poll here at this blog, Physical Therapy Diagnosis.com and we are tracking reader response to get an idea of how many therapists make diagnoses.

The question assumes that, in fact, that most physical therapists don't make a diagnosis.

Unfortunately, I don't have the necessary evidence that most physical therapists don't diagnose - I am merely speaking authoritatively.

Authoritative speech is frowned on these days in physical therapy.

Therefore, you can help me collect evidence about physical therapy diagnosis.

Please fill out the poll at the bottom of the index page of this blog as to whether you do or do not consistently diagnose every patient you see.

Also, do you make a discharge diagnosis?

Do you make a diagnosis at each re-evaluation?

If not, post your comments as to why not.

Thank you.


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Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

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American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.