What Was The Study?
This was a survey based study which had the aim of investigating the imaging requesting rights of physiotherapists in WCPT member nations. 111 member nations were surveyed over a 2 month period with 81 nations responding.
This survey is important because although much of the literature around physiotherapy practice argrees and supports extended roles we don’t know the state of integration of this evidence into the legislation around the world.
Results of The Survey
This was was on the first studies investigsting the various imaging policies of WCPT member nations and it appears as there are huge discrepancies between nations. This likely reflects the scope of practice differences between different countries and interestingly between regions within some countries. The US and Canada have different scope and different legislation between regions which is surprising especially when you consider that a lot of the evidence supporting radiology requesting comes from these countries.
Countries which have direct acess to PT pathways were many times more likely to support requesting where as there were no relationships between the standard or level of degree / education and rights to imaging.
Implications for The Profession
When physiotherapists have access to ‘extended’ roles the benfits to patients are considerable. It streamlines their patient journey as they don’t need multiple referrals to different clinicians when one would have sufficed. Clearly there is a disconnect between the literature which supports extended and expanded roles of physiotherapists and real-world legislation in many countries. Unfortunately this study didn’t investigate the reasons for this and this should definitely be explored in the future to help reform legislation and reform practice. This will only benefit patients however the barries are likely to be around insurance reimbursement and public vs private sector policies.