Differential Diagnosis: Screening for Medical Disorders

William Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAAOMPT, FAPTA

Course Description

Dr. Boissonnault will explore the therapist’s role as an interdependent practitioner working within a collaborative medical model. Inherent in the responsibilities associated with this role is the ability to recognize clinical manifestations that suggest that physician contact is warranted regarding a client’s health status. Equally important is knowing what one can omit from the examination scheme on a given day, while placing the client at minimal risk.  A proposed examination scheme will provide the structure for our discussion. Presenting the clinical tools and decision-making processes necessary to more efficiently and effectively collect and evaluate the examination data, will be the focus of this seminar. Professional communication with the client and other health care professionals will also be a central theme. Patient cases are presented as the final part of this course as a means of applying differential diagnostic principles and promoting clinical decision-making.

This course is co-sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314. APTA has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners as meeting continuing competency requirements for PTs and PTAs for 8 CCUs. Approval #56511TX. The Oklahoma Physical Therapy Continuing Education Committee has approved this course for category B continuing education. Approval code: OSBMLS 201502560. The American Physical Therapy Association is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education. Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy has recognized APTA as an approved provider of continuing education for this course.

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  • Describe the physical therapist’s role and responsibilities associated with the medical screening process-compare and contrast with the physician’s role.
  • Integrate the medical screening principles in order to formulate an efficient and effective patient examination scheme.
  • Evaluate history and physical examination findings and decide whether communication with a physician is warranted regarding a patient’s health status.
  • Identify symptoms and signs, which warrant immediate communication with a physician.
  • Employ strategies to facilitate professional communication between therapist and physician and therapist and patient/client, including when, how and what to communicate regarding medical screening issues.
  • Describe the risk factors, pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of selected medical conditions representing the various body systems.
  • Effectively pursue additional information associated with differential diagnosis by the physical therapist.