DPT 816: Differential Diagnosis/Diagnostic Imaging

Class Program
Credits 3
With most states allowing clients to directly access physical therapy (PT) without a physician referral, therapists must be able to identify signs and symptoms of disease that can mimic neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction. Given a clinical environment in which therapists are frequently expected to assume the role of autonomous practitioner, this course seeks to aid integration of didactic knowledge, clinical problem solving, and the intuitive process into a scheme useful in the formation of a PT clinical diagnosis and intervention program. This course focuses on the differential diagnostic process within physical therapy and screening for the presence of medical disease or other pathologies whose treatment is beyond the scope of physical therapist practice. Emphasis is placed on the use of problem-solving and clinical decision-making for the process of determining when it is most appropriate to: 1) implement physical therapy care, 2) consult with other healthcare providers regarding patient care while implementing PT, or 3) refer the patient to another healthcare provider. This course presents a comprehensive review of advanced techniques and applications of diagnostic tests and imaging in the major systems and joints of the body related to physical therapy practice. The fundamentals of imaging, as well as the more sophisticated techniques and their diagnostic utility, are presented in this course. Specific content provides review of diagnostic ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, nuclear medicine, and radiographs. Content is also presented on general medical diagnostic tests and how to interpret laboratory studies.