Ultrasound Imaging and Doctorate Physical Therapy Programs

Presenter: Brandon Powell

Research Category: Health Sciences
College: Bouve College of Health Sciences
Major(s): Physical Therapy
Graduation Date: 2022
Additional Authors: Shahara Smith, Samuel Seybert

Study Design: Descriptive Survey

Purpose: To investigate, analyze, and describe the current level of integration of ultrasound imaging (USI) including diagnostic, rehabilitative, and interventional use in graduate-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs across the country.

Introduction: Technological advancements have increased the use, portability, cost, and quality of ultrasound imaging for patients with musculoskeletal injuries. Physical therapy is identified as a profession that will greatly benefit from the ultrasound imaging capabilities.  Physical therapists need more training and greater exposure to increase overall utilization of USI in the clinical setting. It is unclear how many DPT programs are teaching, integrating, and utilizing this emerging technology.

Methods: A survey was developed using peer-reviewed research and previous imaging surveys. Five expert physical therapists reviewed the survey for content validity, face validity, and structure. The survey was sent via REDcap (https://www.tuftsctsi.org/) to 259 DPT graduate programs in the United States who are recognized by the Commission of Accreditation Physical Therapy Education.

Results/Conclusion: The survey went through three revisions and final adjustments were made based on expert recommendations. The survey has either 37 questions if the program does not use USI or 49 questions if the program identified they use USI.  Actual survey results are pending.

Relevance: This study will assist to establish a benchmark for ultrasound imaging utilization and will help to identify current needs and direction for DPT programs. Physical therapists who use ultrasound imaging in the clinic demonstrate improve patient care and assists with referral management.

Keywords: Ultrasound Imaging, Physical Therapy, Education