Did you know that physiotherapists can now order X-rays? In fact, since May 2020, physiotherapists with proper certification can prescribe X-rays in the context of a recent musculoskeletal trauma. Thus, a patient with an acute traumatic injury that has occurred within the last 72 hours, may be evaluated by a physiotherapist to determine if radiographic investigations were indicated. Following his/her assessment, the physiotherapist can fill an X-ray prescription if the condition requires it.
This professional activity for physiotherapists offers several advantages! First of all, it avoids long hours of waiting in the emergency room to see a doctor. Then, as X-ray results are sent directly to the physiotherapist, if they are negative, physiotherapy rehabilitation can start without delay. Thus injury rehabilitation is optimized by being more time efficient. If X-ray results are positive, the physiotherapist will then direct the patient towards appropriate medical care according to a previously established corridor of services.
Since the family physician is the practitioner who coordinates a patient’s various care plans, it is essential that all relevant information concerning the patient’s state of health be communicated to him/her. Thus the physiotherapist should inform the doctor if an X-ray prescription has been written for a patient. In addition, the physician should be kept informed of any radiographic results for the patient, regardless of what they are. The prescription of radiography by a physiotherapist must therefore be done in a spirit of interprofessional collaboration between doctors and physiotherapists.
Hopefully, you will never need to use this service, but if bad luck occurs and you think you may need an X-ray, don’t hesitate to see your physiotherapist!