Physical Therapists have historically been required to work under the direction of a referring physician. While this has been a relationship that has worked in the past, the profession of Physical Therapy is growing with advanced degrees now required of all new graduates to have their Masters in Physical Therapy and more programs offering a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Physical therapists and the profession of physical therapy advances, the relationship between the therapist and the physician must be redefined. In order for a client to seek the services of a Physical Therapist, they have been previously required to see their primary care physician first for an initial assessment.
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The primary care physician then had the option of writing a referral to therapy services or referring the patient to a specialist such as an orthopedist, cardiologist, neurologist, or one of many other specialists. While this diagnostic assessment is critical to the success of the patient and the therapist, the time it took the patient to be processed through these systems has been extensive.
With more time lapsing, the patient often suffered from increasing pain and decreasing function. Without the immediate intervention and education provided by a Physical Therapist to complement the ongoing diagnostic assessments, patients have had to unnecessarily wait to solicit and initiate the services of a Physical Therapist.