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Poster Session
Issue Date: July 01, 2015
Published Online: February 09, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2020
Therapist Perceptions of the Utility of Sonographic Imaging in the Rehabilitation of Musculoskeletal Disorders
Author Affiliations
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Article Information
Musculoskeletal Impairments / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Prevention and Intervention
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Therapist Perceptions of the Utility of Sonographic Imaging in the Rehabilitation of Musculoskeletal Disorders
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515064. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2093
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515064. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2093
Abstract

Date Presented 4/16/2015

Sonography is a relatively inexpensive imaging modality that provides real-time, dynamic views of anatomical structures. This session will discuss the results of a qualitative descriptive study that revealed a wide range of uses for sonography by occupational therapists.

SIGNIFICANCE: Point-of-care sonographic imaging for musculoskeletal conditions is rapidly expanding. Numerous advantages (e.g., enhancing evaluation, monitoring disease progression) have been reported by a variety of health care providers. It is important to determine whether this widely available technology could be useful for occupational therapists.
INNOVATION: Although rehabilitative sonographic imaging has been discussed, there have been no empirical, prospective studies that elucidate the full spectrum of clinical uses. More important, although sonography has been used by other rehabilitation providers, use by occupational therapists not been explored.
RESEARCH QUESTION: What are potential uses for sonography by occupational therapists in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders?
BACKGROUND: Sonography is a relatively inexpensive imaging modality that provides real-time, dynamic views of anatomical structures. Evidence suggests that sonography has numerous rehabilitation applications. Prior to widespread adoption, a more complete understanding of potential uses by occupational therapists is needed.
METHOD: Two occupational therapists working in a hand rehabilitation clinic were purposefully recruited and trained in the use of sonographic imaging. Over a 3-mo period, the therapists implemented sonography with 9 patients with diagnoses of the wrist, hand, and fingers.
Data were collected with questionnaires and semistructured, opened-ended interviews. Questionnaires explored therapists’ experiences with each use of sonography. The sonography trainer conducted periodic, short interviews (15 min) with the therapists. At the conclusion of the implementation period, two qualitative researchers not involved in the implementation process conducted a long interview (60 min) with each therapist. Data related to uses of sonography in practice were primarily obtained through the questionnaires and short interviews.
Ten questionnaires, five short-interview transcripts, and two long-interview transcripts were analyzed. Three researchers individually reviewed the data to identify emerging themes. Numerous discussions and iterations of data analysis culminated in consensus on thematic units related to the uses of sonography by occupational therapists in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders.
RESULTS: Four areas of utility for sonography by occupational therapists were revealed: mastering anatomy and pathology, augmenting clinical reasoning, supplementing intervention, and building evidence.
CONCLUSION: A wide range of uses for sonography by occupational therapists exists. Enhancing clinical evaluations, measuring outcomes, and providing patient education/biofeedback were frequently noted in the data, each supported by current literature. A novel and especially beneficial use was improved therapist appreciation of normal and abnormal anatomy. A second unique finding was the perceived use of sonography as an integrative, mind–body intervention, which could translate to increased patient engagement in the rehabilitation process.
Although these findings are limited to the perspectives of two therapists, this approach provided a depth of understanding that could not have been achieved with other research methods. Complexities of implementation and effects on patient outcomes should be explored to inform best practices for the use of sonography in occupational therapy clinical practice.