Medical Screening for Therapists: The Sherlock Holmes Approach

Medical Screening for Therapists: The Sherlock Holmes Approach
Event on 2015-04-24 14:00:00

You are seeing a patient for low back, hip or neck pain. Is there any reason to suspect occult cancer or infection, or a fracture? An important clinical decision making element for therapists is recognizing red flag warning signs that a patient should see a medical doctor.

This seminar will help prepare therapists to assume the role of interdependent practitioner working within a collaborative medical model. A proposed examination scheme designed to promote efficient and effective collection of patient red flag findings will provide our discussion structure. Professional communication with patients and medical doctors will be a central theme throughout the seminar. Lecture, small group activities/discussion and laboratory sessions will comprise the learning experiences.

Patient cases will be presented to apply important medical screening principles. For example:

1. Susan states she has unusual neck pain. She has spent hours and hours working at a potter's wheel the past two to three weeks. She wonders if her neck posture during pottery-making could cause her neck pain.

2. Jeremiah describes L chest wall pain that started six months ago while doing some heavy lawn mowing. He has improved slowly, noting he can swim and mow the grass pain free if he tapes his chest. He wants to know how much longer it will take for this to heal, and asks is there a chance the pain could be heart related.

3. Jim describes joint pain in his arms and wonders if strengthening exercises would be good for him.

4. Amber woke three days ago with intense burning in her L shoulder blade. She describes having a severe back injury one year ago, which PT helped. She wonders if her back injury could be linked to this shoulder pain.

Based upon these four patient scenarios:
– One patient required an urgent referral
– One patient received a non-urgent referral
– One patient received a recommendation to see a physical therapist within the next few days
– One patient required patient no action at all.

Can you match the four patients with the four outcomes? Can you think of key questions to help identify patients needing to see a medical doctor?

During the course we will use a number of cases like these to explore critical red flag questions including what is the best first question to ask facing real-life scenarios.

*Featured Instructor*

William Boissonnault, PT, D.P.T., DHSc, FAAOMPT, FAPTA is a professor and senior physical therapist at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and is hospital and curriculum director with UW/Meriter Hospital Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinical Residency program.

Boissonnault holds multiple adjunct physical therapy faculty positions, presenting nationally and internationally. He has taught differential diagnosis, diagnostic imaging and communication skills in Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

He is editor of the textbook Primary Care for the Physical Therapist: Examination and Triage, and past co-editor of Pathology: Implications for the Physical Therapist I. He has multiple journal publications related to differential diagnosis and physical therapist practice.

Boissonnault is president of the Foundation for Physical Therapy, the profession's national research fund-raising organization. He served as president of the Orthopaedic Section of the APTA from 1995-2001, chaired the APTA Manipulation Legislative Task Force and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists Practice Committee.

His honors include the Orthopaedic Section, APTA's Stanley V. Paris Distinguished Service Award, the APTA Baethke-Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching, the APTA's Lucy Blair Service Award, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School Dean's Teaching Award for Excellence and Innovation in Medical Education. He was also named an APTA Catherine Worthingham Fellow.

INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center Auditorium
3300 NW Expressway * concourse level
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Target audience

Space is limited. Please call the INTEGRIS HealthLine to enroll at 888-951-2277.

Cost: 0

Contact hours: Applied for 10.75 hours

To review cancellation policy, visit

Course objectives
Upon course completion, participants will be able to do the following.
– Compare and contrast the therapist's role and responsibilities to that of physicians associated with the differential diagnosis/medical screening process.
– Integrate medical screening principles into efficient and effective patient examination schemes.
– Evaluate history and physical examination findings (red flags) to decide whether physician communication is warranted regarding a patient's health status, and indications for imaging.
– Facilitate professional communication between therapist and physician and therapist and patient including when, how and what to communicate as part of a patient referral.
– Describe risk factors, pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of selected medical conditions and medications representing the various body systems.
– Compare and contrast vascular/neurogenic claudication, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, musculoskeletal cancer, infection, abdominal aortic aneurysm, kidney stones related to risk factors, and signs and symptoms clinical manifestations.
– Effectively pursue additional information associated with differential diagnosis by the therapist.

*Course Agenda*

Friday, April 24 (2 to 8 p.m.)
1:30 p.m. Registration
2 p.m. Course introduction
2:15 p.m. Patient case discussions
2:45 p.m. Screening for fractures
4 p.m. Break
4:15 p.m. Differential diagnosis of limb pain
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:15 p.m. Differential diagnosis of joint pain
7:45 p.m. Patient cases and wrap-up

Saturday, April 25 (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
7:30 a.m. Sign-in and continental breakfast
8 a.m. Differential diagnosis of back pain
10 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Screening of skin lesions
11:15 a.m. Laboratory experience: screening for fractures
Noon Lunch
1 p.m. Laboratory experience:
Peripheral vascular screening Screening for skin lesions Screening lymph nodes
2:30 p.m. Patient cases and course wrap-up


at INTEGRIS Health
3300 Northwest Expy
Oklahoma City, United States

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