Global Developments and Trends in Physiotherapy By Dr. Darshi Vyas

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Physiotherapy is a dynamic and rapidly evolving profession that has evolved from limited scope and limited range of techniques to widespread and fully autonomous practice in a range of specialist areas with high clinical reasoning,  expertise and skills .

Physiotherapy field has become important part of health care with growing job opportunities,  new specialities and use of modern technologies.

Trends in Health care delivery

Trends that are emerging in this field and continues to grow are –

1. Multidisciplinary team Work.

2 . Self management

 Recognising patients own key role in management of their  condition.

3 . Home based care

  Community Physiotherapist ,  which play role as primary care especially in neurorehabilitation in stroke , head injury and in other chronic bed ridden conditions.

4. Telerehabilitation especially in this Era of pandemic provides services to distant rural areas too.

5. Gamified Rehabilitation Apps for patients

6. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as assistance for physiotherapists.

7. Wearable technologies for better results.

Evolution of Physiotherapy practice

It is an exponentially evolving health care profession  with high skills and to see patients as first contact person where he can perform a comprehensive examination,  make a diagnosis,  plan,  provide and monitor treatment and refer to other health care professionals.

Primary contact practice in public sector first developed in Australia which was similar to the successful models of UK where Physiotherapist has undertaken the primary role in case management like triaging patients referred by physicians to see medical consultants,  ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, performing joint injections, than either listening those requiring surgery or  managing those appropriate for physiotherapy intervention.  Additionally Physiotherapist are also appointed in emergency department in advanced countries for management of soft tissues injuries.

This professional autonomy in profession is a milestone and major achievement .

 Only in fewer countries there is  ethical and established first contact practice for Physiotherapist.

In India also recently Government has passed the bill in Lok Sabha  and gave right to Physiotherapist for independent practice in their scope of area which has been long awaited.

Scope of practice and clinical establishment

 Musculoskeletal  , neurology and cardiorespiratory are the main streams of practice but with time other areas like  intensive care unit , plastic surgery,  gynaecology,  paediatric,  geriatric and sports injuries are the streams where physiotherapy is expanding their services.

Extended scope of practice

Specific areas of part of  expansion in future are –

* Role of Physiotherapy in pre surgery preparation,  post surgery rehabilitation,  triaging,  emergency and  intensive care unit.

* Provision of  rights of prescribing necessary medicines .

* Right to give joint injections .

* Increased use of diagnostics imaging technology like ultrasound scanner.

 Over the next few years , changes to legislation to enable physiotherapist to undertake additional roles  will be dependent upon continued negotiations between Physiotherapy professionals and the appropriate state or territory health jurisdiction that have responsibility for the development and review of health practitioners legislation.

Dr. Darshi Vyas (PT)

Physiotherapist.

MBGH , Udaipur (Rajasthan).

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