Imaging Instruction: Classroom to Expanding Clinical Practice


This session will allow educators to understand multiple approaches for incorporating imaging content into physical therapy curricula and to best utilize available resources to integrate that information into preparation for an expanding scope of practice with imaging in the future.

Methods and/or Description of Project

The importance of imaging content in clinical practice and necessarily in physical therapy educational programs is growing. Legislative changes within states are underway for physical therapists to have privileges for ordering diagnostic imaging and to have greater latitude of use of procedural imaging (e.g. ultrasound), as early steps of an expanding future scope of physical therapy practice. A recent survey of educational curricula, however, found remarkable inconsistencies in content and emphasis of imaging. The most recent set of Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education Accreditation Criteria include further elaboration of imaging content. This session will demonstrate different models of instruction of imaging content and use of resources in physical therapy education at military, private and public academic institutions. Emphasis is placed on the integration of imaging in clinical decision making and patient management. Among the resources to be utilized are the newly published Imaging Education Manual (2015) and the position paper, Diagnostic and Procedural Imaging in Physical Therapy Practice (2016). Additional resources suggested by the Imaging Special Interest Group are also highlighted.


Attendees will have an understanding of imaging in education and clinical practice, including its historical context and anticipated expansion in the future. Those attending will be familiarized with multiple instructional methodologies, varying by educational setting, within which imaging content can be effectively taught to prepare practitioners for future patient care.

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

Optimal patient-centered care of the future will include value driven clinical reasoning of the need or absence thereof for imaging, selection of imaging modality, application of imaging guidelines, and consideration of the effects of imaging results on overall patient management. With the scope of physical therapy practice very likely to expand in the near future to include a wider imaging purview, a greater emphasis on preparation of future practitioners with more thorough imaging instruction and its effective delivery are essential for adoption in educational programs.


Orthopaedic Section APTA, Inc. Imaging Education Manual for Doctor of Physical Therapy Professional Degree Programs. 2015, LaCrosse, WI.
Orthopaedic Section APTA, Inc. Diagnostic & Procedural Imaging in Physical Therapy Practice. Orthopaedic Section, La Crosse, WI, anticipated publication June 2016.
Boyles RE, Gorman I, Pinto D, Ross MD. Physical therapist practice and the role of diagnostic imaging. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Nov;41(11):829-37.
Boissonnault WG, White DM, Carney S, Malin B, Smith W. Diagnostic and procedural imaging curricula in physical therapist professional degree programs. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Aug;44(8):579-86, B1-12.
Keil A, Brown S. US Hospital-Based Direct Access with Radiology Referral: an Administrative Case Report. Physiother Theory Pract. 2015; 31(8):594-600.
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Evaluative Criteria Physical Therapy Programs 2015. Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, Alexandria, VA; 2015.

Course Objectives

Attendees will understand:
1) Multiple curricular designs of imaging content in educational programs.

2) The foundational professional documents published toward establishing greater educational emphasis and expanded clinical practice of imaging.

3) The resources available for instructors in teaching imaging content.

4) That imaging is most effectively taught in the context of clinical reasoning and decision making in overall patient management

Instructional Methods

Narrative of historical and present context of imaging content.
Discussion and demonstration of curricular design and instruction.
Demonstration of instructional resources
Open questions and answers with panel

Tentative Outline/Schedule

Historical Perspective and the Present State of Imaging in Education: 5 minutes

Imaging Education Manual & Diagnostic and Procedural Imaging in Physical Therapy Practice position paper: 10 minutes

Models of Imaging Education: 45 minutes

Demonstration & Discussion of Resources for Instructors: 20 minutes

Discussion & Questions/Answers with Panel: 10 minutes

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  • Control #: 2527496
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Dr. Charles Hazle, Dr. Aimee Klein, Dr. Robert Boyles, Dr. Brian Young
  • Keywords:

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