PTNow: Virtualize Your Personal Toolbox
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Physical therapy education provides us with the necessary knowledge and resources to be competent health care professionals. We have droves of texts, tons of research studies, and we listen to endless lectures.
I'm not sure about you, but throughout my time as a student I've found myself thinking, "Okay, when I'm out in the clinic, how do I have these same resources by my side?" "How do I access resources, information, and tools while also treating my patients?"
It wasn't until I discovered APTA's PTNow platform, that I realized this might not be a mystery after all.
The goal of PTNow is to assist physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in their everyday practice. Not only that, PTNow is a great resource for students as well. Its mission is to "translate physical therapy knowledge into action, support evidence-informed care, and help clinicians improve their clinical decision-making."
The great thing about this portal, is that it gives you the flexibility to create a user profile, save your searches, and create what's called a "clinical collection" or a set of data to be used in your day-to-day practice. You can also share your "collections" with your colleagues saving you and your peers time and effort.
Finally, if you can't find what you need on PTNow, it provides you with external information or evidence that's been vetted for relevance and credibility.
Here are 5 things PTNow offers PTs, PTAs, and students:
- PTNow Clinical Summaries: These clinical summaries provide evidence on managing patient diagnoses. They include an overview of the condition, classification, screening, examination, diagnosis and prognosis, intervention, medical management, and case study examples. Applying this evidence-based knowledge helps to better understand the diagnosis and apply an optimal plan of care.
- PTNow Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs): CPGs are based on systematic review of current evidence and they include information that is published within 5 years by APTA sections or other health care associations. PTNow can assist students in clinical decision-making by providing resources that can be narrowed down by factors, such as health condition and age. CPGs do not speed up the process of mastering this skill, but they aid in making it easier to accomplish by referencing evidence-based sources that can be applied to most diagnoses.
- PTNow Tests and Measures: The tests and measures section can be as general or specific as you would like. You can narrow your search by health condition, practice area, ICF domain, G-code, and body region. Each test includes information on administration, statistical interpretation, or videos showing what the test should look like. As a student, it is good to know that there are resources to help choose valid and reliable measures for specific patient diagnoses.
- PTNow full-text ArticleSearch and Cochrane Systematic Reviews: Physical therapy school allows the student to access almost any informative database, but unfortunately this convenience will end shortly after the educational program. Luckily, the ArticleSearch section and systematic reviews provided in PTNow will allow users to stay up to date with the newest research to provide patients with the most accurate plan of care.
- Rehabilitation Reference Center (RRC): RRC is a point-of-care resource allowing us as physical therapists to provide the best plan of care to our patients. What's great about this tool is that it's updated daily with the latest systematic identification, evaluation, and consolidation of practice-changing information. RRC was described in a great article written by recent graduate Scott McAfee, PT, DPT.
Physical therapy is a growing profession. It's constantly expanding with new technology, interventions, and patient populations. Resources for evidence-based practice provided in PTNow will help us as physical therapy professionals improve our patient care. PTNow will assist in advancing communication and collaboration across our field and other health care professionals.
This will increase our opportunity to potentially see more patients and provide alternative corrective treatments to allow people to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
So, how do you access to this all-knowing toolbox? All you need is an APTA membership. Visit PTNow today.
Alana Papa, SPT, PTNow Student Liaison, attends the University of Scranton.