Survey of physical therapists' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding diagnostic imaging

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Authors
Rundell, Sean D.
Maitland, Murray E.
Manske, Robert C.
Beneck, George J.
Issue Date
2021-01-04
Type
Article
Language
en_US
Keywords
Diagnosis , Imaging , Health Care Surveys , Physical Therapists
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe physical therapists' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding the use of diagnostic imaging. METHODS: Physical therapists in the United States were recruited from July 2018 through May 2019 to complete a web-based, cross-sectional survey. Participants were asked about demographics, their perceived knowledge base and skills for recommending or ordering different imaging modalities, and their behaviors regarding diagnostic imaging. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the participants' demographics and responses to all questions. Chi-square tests were performed to compare responses by characteristics of survey participants and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to compare levels of agreement. RESULTS: The mean age was 43 years, and of the 739 respondents, 58% (n = 417) were female. Ninety-two percent of respondents (n = 595) reported having recommended diagnostic imaging to another provider at least once. Only 11.6% (n = 75) reported having ever directly ordered diagnostic imaging. Participants' attitudes about their knowledge base and skills for recommending or ordering plain radiographs were stronger compared with any other imaging modalities followed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over other imaging techniques. Participants' attitudes on recommending plain radiographs or MRI differed by professional education level, board-certification status, fellowship completion, and years since graduation. CONCLUSION: It is common for physical therapists to recommend imaging, but few have directly ordered imaging. Most survey participants believed that they have an adequate knowledge base and skills for recommending and ordering plain radiographs and MRI. IMPACT: These results can serve as a benchmark for future comparison as policies and educations evolve. Understanding physical therapists' attitudes, knowledge, and use of diagnostic imaging is important to inform research, policy, and education.

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Citation
Rundell, S. D., Maitland, M. E., Manske, R. C., & Beneck, G. J. (2021). Survey of physical therapists' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding diagnostic imaging. Physical Therapy, 101(1) doi:10.1093/ptj/pzaa187
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Oxford University Press
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ISSN
0031-9023
1538-6724
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