Connecting Strategies for the Classroom and Clinic: Use of Online Media for Medical Screening Instruction


Online media has the potential to be a user-friendly method for improving student learning of medical screening and patient referral in physical therapy curricula. The purpose of this case report presentation is to describe educational multimedia innovations used in the “Medical Screening for Patient Referral” course at Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU)Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Los Angeles.


Physical therapist (PT) students in their final academic year accessed 3 consecutive years of archives from a monthly online national public radio (NPR: The Larry Meiller Show) media program titled “Aches, Pains, Sprains and Strains – Talk to Your Physical Therapist.” Based on information provided by the callers, PT students determined whether callers required further medical screening in a writing assignment. Upon completion of the assignment and classroom group discussions, a face-to-face videoconferencing between one of the PTs from the NPR program and PT students was conducted to discuss the challenge of screening callers for patient referral and relevance to clinical practice.


The archived online media program was incorporated into a medical screening course with minimal faculty resources and positive student feedback. Overall, PTs on the radio media program noted 12.3% of 608 callers in 3 years required a physician referral. In addition, the majority of the callers were not examined by a physician prior to speaking with PTs.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education

An online media program that screens callers with aches, pains, sprains, and strains may provide an additional educational strategy to reinforce decision-making skills necessary for medical screening and patient referral in physical therapy curricula. Classroom discussion with PT students and faculty are warranted to discern medical screening cases from online media program requiring a physician referral.


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  • Control #: 2515912
  • Type: Platforms
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Dr. Alan Lee, William Boissonnault
  • Keywords:

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