Physiotherapist misdiagnosis non-existent in emergency departments, according to new research

September 20, 2015

2 September 2015

New research released by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has found that physiotherapists have displayed a 0% misdiagnosis rate in emergency departments across Australia.

Released in conjunction with World Physiotherapy Day, taking place on Tuesday 8 September, the research from the Journal of Physiotherapy looks to highlight the important contribution of physiotherapy to the health and wellbeing of Australians.

The study found that physiotherapists have made a significant impact in mitigating misdiagnoses, reducing time spent in emergency departments and the subsequent need for further imaging procedures such as CT scans, X-rays and ultrasounds.

Patients who presented to emergency departments with minor trauma experienced a 0% rate of misdiagnosis and subsequent adverse events, when managed by the physiotherapy service.

Cris Massis, CEO of the APA, believes that the significant impact of physiotherapists in emergency departments and wider communities across Australia is one that needs to be commended.

“World Physiotherapy Day is all about celebrating the important role that physiotherapy plays in the lives of people and these positive statistics really underscore the impact physiotherapists make in assessing, treating and preventing diseases and disability.

“The fact that there were no misdiagnoses from physiotherapists in emergency departments is testament to the high level of skill, expertise and quality of care that physiotherapists can provide both on their own and as part of an integrated treatment plan with other health care professionals,” said Massis.

This significant impact made by physiotherapists was further compounded by findings that these patients also spent an average of 83 minutes less in the emergency department when diagnosed by a physiotherapist and significantly less follow up imaging requests.

With over 27,543 qualified physiotherapists practising in public hospitals, rehabilitation centres, sporting clubs, community health centres and the private sphere, Australian’s are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a qualified physiotherapist to help them recover from injury, pain, stiffness and increase their overall mobility.

“Many people don’t realise the diversity of the physiotherapy profession in helping to alleviate everything from head, neck, shoulder, knee and patellofemoral pain, through to a broad range of injuries and conditions spanning ankle pain, arthritis, depression, diabetes and sports injuries.

“We hope that World Physiotherapy Day will help to educate the public on the diversity and importance of the industry,” said Massis.

To find out more about World Physiotherapy Day, or to find a suitable physiotherapist, visit