Physical Therapy in the Emergency Department


The model of physical therapy consults in the emergency department is not commonly practiced in the U.S., but the limited research shows an increase in patient and provider satisfaction, shorter wait times, and decreased rates of hospital admission. The emergency department at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center implemented physical therapy consults in 2018 for the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, home safety assessments, acute and chronic pain management, and vestibular pathology. This retrospective study will describe patients who received physical therapy services in the emergency department, and compare their clinical outcomes to patients who received traditional emergency department prior to implementation as well as to those who did not receive physical therapy in the emergency department post-implementation but were eligible for it. Subgroup analysis will assess differences in patient outcomes by urban-rural residence, and by diagnostic group. Cost savings of the implementation of physical therapy in the emergency department will also be calculated by examining any reduction in the use of imaging, hospitalizations, or length of stay. 

John Seip, DPT, is the Principal Investigator. Peter Drinkwine, DPT, and Melissa Harry, PhD. are Co-Investigators. 

Principal Investigator(s)
Melissa Harry, PhD, MSW, LGSW

Research Study Categories

  • Adult Studies


  • Trauma
Trauma Research Team at

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