This is a 2-part course covering both Practice as a Movement System Expert and What are the Criteria for a Movement System Diagnosis?

Practice as a Movement System Expert: Physical therapists are often recognized by what we do and not by what we know as professionals. Although public recognition for PT practice methods and outcomes is essential, understanding that outcomes are achieved through clinical reasoning and practice that emanates from a distinct body of knowledge is crucial to our professional identity. PTs need to define and promote the Human Movement System (HMS) as the core construct that integrates this knowledge. Although the scientific literature addresses human movement in multiple broad and detailed configurations, the actual description of the anatomic structures and interrelated physiologic functions of human movement have not yet been described as a system. The first step is to understand the examination of movement.

What are the Criteria for a Movement System Diagnosis? Though physical therapists have been required to make a diagnosis since House of Delegates Actions in 1983, there is still no accepted manual or list of diagnoses. An early attempt to provide guidance in developing diagnosis was the Practice Patterns described in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. These Patterns are no longer incorporated in the Guide. As the profession pursues defining and developing the identity of the movement system, this is the optimal time to develop standardized diagnostic terminology. Clearly both the practice and business models are undergoing change and the profession has to clarify that what we do is based on the movement diagnoses we make rather than on diagnoses made by other practitioners. We can no longer be only identified by what we do but more importantly by what we know. Conveying our body of knowledge is going to require labels for the conditions we treat.

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss terminology used when describing diagnosis. For example, screening, review of systems, and differential diagnosis are all terms used in connection with diagnosis yet the use of these terms is not clear or consistent in physical therapy. The purposes of diagnoses and the varying context in which they are developed will also be discussed. The work of the “Diagnosis Dialog” group that has been working toward clarifying and attempting to develop diagnoses to be made by physical therapists will be described. The program will clarify the various factors of making a movement system diagnosis and a movement diagnosis. General categories of pathoanatomic diagnoses, pathokinesiologic, and kinesiopathologic will be presented.

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Completion Instructions

Listen to the recorded session, then click on Assessment in the green menu to the right. Complete the assessment with at least a 70% score. Complete the course evaluation to provide feedback to our facilitators.

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Gay L. Girolami, PT, MS, PhD; Cynthia Zadai, PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA; Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FASAHP

Learning objectives

  1. Define the movement system and its components.
  2. Evaluate movement behavior and underlying impairments in the context of an individual’s function and performance.
  3. Demonstrate the examination of the movement system.
  4. Describe the variety of terms used in connection with diagnosis.
  5. Discuss major health disparities in the United States.
  6. Appreciate the importance of diagnoses in physical therapy.
  7. Understand the differences and similarities between a movement system diagnosis and a movement diagnosis.
  8. Clarify the labels of pathoanatomic, pathokinesiologic, and kinesiopathologic conditions.

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1Movement System_course package
2Assessment_Movement System
Type:E-Learning Course
Credit Categories
Domains:Gay Girolami, Cynthia Zadai, Lisa Saladin, Move
Available discounts:
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    (until 12/31/2030)
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    (until 12/31/2030)
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