Course Description

Differential Diagnosis: Screening for Medical Disorders

Dr Boissonnault will explore the therapist’s role as an interdependent practitioner working within a collaborative medical model. Inherent in the responsibilities associated with this role is the ability to recognize clinical manifestations that suggest that physician contact is warranted regarding a client’s health status. Equally important is knowing what one can omit from the examination scheme on a given day, while placing the client at minimal risk.

Full Course Description

A proposed examination scheme will provide the structure for discussion. Presenting the clinical tools and decision-making processes necessary to more efficiently and effectively collect and evaluate the examination data, will be the focus of this seminar. Professional communication with the client and other health care professionals will also be a central theme. Patient cases are presented as the final part of this course as a means of applying differential diagnostic principles and promoting clinical decision-making.



Upon successful completion of this course, the student will:

  • Compare the physical therapist’s medical screening role and responsibilities with those of a physician.
  • Integrate medical screening principles to formulate an efficient and effective patient examination scheme.
  • Judge whether physician communication about a patient’s health is warranted based on history and physical examination findings.
  • Decide on symptoms and signs that warrant immediate communication with a physician.
  • Articulate strategies to facilitate professional communication between therapist and physician (including when, how and what to communicate).
  • Articulate strategies to facilitate professional communication between therapist and patient/client (including when, how and what to communicate).
  • Articulate the risk factors, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of selected medical conditions representing the various body systems.
  • Justify the need for additional information associated with differential diagnosis by the physical therapist.