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Research - Impact of the Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner

Research Project Overview

The impact of the role of the Emergency Physiotherapy Practitioner on emergency department care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries.


There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive influence of physiotherapists on Emergency Department (ED) productivity and patient satisfaction. However, in many cases this evidence is either descriptive or based on data from a single site. The purpose of this study is to pool data from multiple sites to quantitatively demonstrate the relative efficiency of Physiotherapy Practitioners (PP) compared with the usual provider/clinician in the treatment of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries presenting to the ED.

The study will compare waiting times and overall length of stay for patients (aged 16 to 70) presenting to ED with an isolated Musculoskeletal injury treated by PPs and this data will be compared to the treatment provided by usual care providers to determine if there is an value add from this physiotherapy service. Secondary measures will include patient satisfaction of advice given and satisfaction of the emergency staff with the emergency physiotherapy practitioner. Data will also be collected on the duties that the emergency physiotherapy practitioner carries out during their working day and will be recorded in percentages of clinical verses non clinical workloads. :


Alkhouri H, Maka K, Wong L, McCarthy S. Impact of the primary contact physiotherapy practitioner role on emergency department care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries in New South Wales. Emergency Medicine Australasia : EMA. 2020;32(2):202-9.

Conference Presentations

1. ACEM Annual Scientific Committee: December 2014 (oral and poster presentation).

2. Australian Physiotherapy Association National Conference: October 2015

  • E-Poster Presentation: Patient and staff satisfaction with the role of the emergency physiotherapy practitioner in the emergency department.

  • Free Oral Paper: Primary contact physiotherapy practitioner reduces waiting times and length of stay for patients with isolated musculoskeletal conditions in emergency departments.

Award Submissions

1. Westmead Hospital Week 2015 (Western Sydney LHD Allied Health Research Symposium)

  • Poster: Implementing an Event Tool in Cerner FirstNet to Identify the Physiotherapy Service in the Emergency Department and Determine its Impact on Patient Care (WINNER - best poster)

  • Oral Presentation: The Impact of the Emergency Physiotherapy Pracitioner on Emergency Department Care for Patients with Musculoskeletal Injuries (WINNER - best oral presentation)

2. WSLHD Quality Awards 2015, Category Innovation - submission

  • Do we need a Physiotherapist in the ED?

3. Project submitted for NSW Health and Innovation Awards 2015, Category: Translation Research

Further References and Resources

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