Diagnostic Accuracy: PTs vs MDs

Reference:Moore JH, et al Clinical diagnostic accuracy and magnetic resonance imaging of patients referred by physical therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, and nonorthopaedic providers. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2005 Feb;35(2):67-71.

This study was designed to compare clinical diagnostic accuracy between physical therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, and non-orthopaedic physicians on patients with musculoskeletal injuries referred for MRI.

US Army PTs are frequently the first health care providers to examine and diagnose patients with musculoskeletal injuries. PTs at the US Army also have privileges to order MRI studies.

This study involved 560 patients referred for MRI and they measured the agreement between the pre-MRI hypothesized clinical diagnosis and the actual MRI findings. This is what they refer to as clinical diagnostic accuracy.

Results: The clinical diagnostic accuracy was 75% for PTs, 81% for the orthopaedic surgeons, and 35% for the other MDs.

Basic Conclusion: Clinical diagnostic accuracy by PTs and Orthopaedic surgeons on patients with musculoskeletal injuries was significantly greater than MDs, with no difference noted between PTs and Orthopaedic surgeons.

Posted on: March 29, 2011

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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