Imaging plays an increasing role in physical therapy (PT) practice. We sought to determine if picture archiving and communication system (PACS) deployment would increase the proportion of imaging studies viewed by physical therapists (PTs) at the point of care and to assess PTs' perception of the value of access to imaging information. The study was performed in a 720-bed urban teaching hospital where an average of 2,000 rehabilitation visits per month are performed by 12 PTs. We compared the proportion of imaging studies viewed by PTs before and after PACS implementation. We surveyed PTs to assess their perception on the value of access to imaging studies. Film library records pre-PACS and web server audit trail post-PACS implementation were reviewed to measure access. Chi-square was used to compare proportions and trends. During the 3-month period before PACS usage, PTs viewed 1% (6/505) of imaging studies, citing time as the primary barrier. Post-PACS, the proportion of imaging studies viewed rose from 28% (95/344, second month) to 84% (163/192, fifth month) (p < 0.0001, chi-square). Most PTs believed that access to imaging studies has high value and has a positive impact on clinical practice. Physical therapists rarely viewed imaging studies before PACS due to time barriers. They viewed more imaging studies (84%) post-PACS and felt that access to imaging studies has a positive impact on clinical practice. Further studies are needed to assess whether PACS enhances PTs' clinical decision making and improves patient outcomes.
- Evidence-based practice
- Physical therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Computer Science Applications