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Differential Diagnosis & Medical Screening

Enhance your medical screening and clinical reasoning skills to become a better direct access clinician.

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About this Certificate Program

Gain the necessary knowledge to thrive in autonomous practice, direct access, primary care, and even emergency departments. In this Certificate Program, you will learn how to recognize hallmark signs and symptoms of serious musculoskeletal and nonmusculoskeletal pathology, both acute and chronic, along with how to form clear clinical pictures when systemic, orthopedic, and neurologic illness and injuries overlap. The intent of this course is not to train you to make medical diagnoses per se but rather to allow you to confidently determine when to treat, refer to other healthcare providers, or 'treat and refer'.

Target Audience

This certificate program is appropriate for any physical therapist, those who are direct access providers and those who are not. Medical Screening and differential diagnosis are essential components in autonomous practice and is within the scope of the physical therapy profession.

Goals & Objectives

  • Recognize hallmark signs and symptoms of serious musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology.
  • Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology through a review of the body's systems.
  • Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the body's musculoskeletal system.
  • Form clear clinical pictures when systemic, orthopedic, and neurologic illness and injuries overlap.
  • Understand the importance of sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios in regards to diagnostic tests/CPRs.
  • Confidently determine when to treat, refer to other healthcare providers, or 'treat and refer'.
  • Enhance your clinical decision making skills, including clinical reasoning and clinical judgment.

What's Included in the Certificate Program

Courses
Accredited Online Courses*

16 hours of online video lectures and patient demonstrations.

Courses
Interactive Learning Assessments

Case-based quizzes to evaluate and improve clinical reasoning.

Courses
Case Study Interviews

Recorded Q&A sessions between instructors and practice managers.

Section 1: Introduction

1 Chapters

Medical Screening and Clinical Decision Makingkeyboard_arrow_down

Course

Section 2: A Body Region Approach

5 Chapters

Regional Review of Musculoskeletal Systems: Lumbar Spine, Abdomen, and Pelviskeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Low Back and Lumbar SpineChapter 1

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the low back and Lumbar spine regions. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, interview questions, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differentially diagnosing. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Sacroiliac, Sacrum, and CoccyxChapter 2

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in and around the Sacroiliac Joint region. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within this region. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differentially diagnosing. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Abdomen and PelvisChapter 3

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Abdominal and Pelvic regions. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select risk factors, interview questions, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Other SystemsChapter 4

    Identify additional common non-musculoskeletal pathologies that can mimic musculoskeletal conditions in the above regions. Review common signs & symptoms of select systemic pathologies within each region. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »

Regional Review of Musculoskeletal Systems: Chest and Thoracic Spinekeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Chest and BreastChapter 1

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Chest and Breast region. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Rib and Thoracic SpineChapter 2

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Ribs and Thoracic Spine region. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system. Highlight select predictor variables, interview questions, and risk factors to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »

Regional Review of Musculoskeletal Systems: Head, Neck, and Cervical Spinekeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • General Musculoskeletal ConceptsChapter 1

    Examine risk factors and causes of musculoskeletal injuries in skeletally immature individuals. Describe the Salter-Harris fracture classification system for all level of skeletal maturity. Compare and contrast the classic presentation of Osteoarthritis versus Rheumatoid Arthritis. Review upper quarter and lower quarter screening components with a focus on reflex equipment, testing procedures, and interpretation of findings.

  • HeadChapter 2

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Head region. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within this system. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Neck and Cervical SpineChapter 3

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Neck, and Cervical Spine region. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »

Regional Review of Musculoskeletal Systems: Shoulder and Upper Extremitykeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • ShoulderChapter 1

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the shoulder. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within this region. Highlight select CPRs, interview questions, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Elbow and ForearmChapter 2

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the elbow and forearm. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, interview questions, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Wrist and HandChapter 3

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the wrist and hand. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, interview questions, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Live Case StudyChapter 4

    Michael Fink works through a thorough screening and diagnosis process with patient, Susan. Identify various screening questions and tools used to complete an accurate diagnosis of patient's symptoms.

  • View full course details »

Regional Review of Musculoskeletal Systems: Hip, Groin, and Lower Extremitykeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Hip and GroinChapter 1

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the hip and groin. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Thigh and KneeChapter 2

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the thigh and knee. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differentially diagnosing. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Leg, Ankle, and FootChapter 3

    Identify common musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal pathology in the distal lower extremity. Review common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each region. Highlight select CPRs, interview information, physical exam findings, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differential diagnosis. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Live Case StudyChapter 4

    Dr. Michael Fink works with patient, Dana Vargas, regarding her severe hip pain. A full screening is conducted, followed by examination and treatment protocols.

  • View full course details »

Section 3: A Systems Approach

3 Chapters

Review of Systems: Endocrine, Metabolic, Immunologic and Cancerkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Endocrine and MetabolicChapter 1

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Endocrine and Metabolic systems. Define common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system. Highlight select CPRs, risk factors, interview questions, and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differentially diagnosing Endocrine and Metabolic disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • ImmunologicChapter 2

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Immunologic system. Define common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within the Immunologic system. Highlight select predictor variables, risk factors, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing Immunologic disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • CancerChapter 3

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in Cancer. Define common signs & symptoms of Cancer. Highlight select predictor variables, risk factors, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing Cancer from musculoskeletal pathology. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »

Review of Systems: Gastrointestinal, Hepatic/Biliary, Urogenitalkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • GastrointestinalChapter 1

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Gastrointestinal system. Highlight select risk factors, interview questions, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing Gastrointestinal disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Master common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within the Gastrointestinal system. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • Hepatic and BiliaryChapter 2

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Hepatic and Biliary systems. Highlight select risk factors, interview questions, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing Hepatic and Biliary disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Master common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • UrogenitalChapter 3

    Identify common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Urogenital system. Highlight select risk factors, interview questions, and physical exam findings to aid in differentially diagnosing Urogenital disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Master common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within the Urogenital system. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »

Review of Systems: Integumentary, Hematologic, Cardiovascular, and Pulmonarykeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Integumentary and HematologicChapter 1

    Review common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Integumentary and Hematologic systems. Highlight CPRs and associated diagnostic accuracy statistics to aid in differentially diagnosing Integumentary and Hematologic disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Analyze common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within each system.

  • CardiovascularChapter 2

    Review common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Cardiovascular system. Highlight predictor variables and risk factors to aid in differentially diagnosing Cardiovascular disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Analyze typical and atypical signs & symptoms of select pathologies within the Cardiovascular system. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • PulmonaryChapter 3

    Review common non-musculoskeletal pathology in the Pulmonary system. Highlight predictor variables and risk factors to aid in differentially diagnosing Pulmonary disorders from musculoskeletal pathology. Analyze common signs & symptoms of select pathologies within the Pulmonary system. Identify situations that require a urgent medical referral.

  • View full course details »
Instructors
Michael Fink

PT, DSc, SCS, OCS

CEU Approved

16 total hours* of accredited coursework.
MedBridge accredits each course individually so you can earn CEUs as you progress.

      Our clinic could not be happier with MedBridge.

Amy Lee, MPT, OCS
Physical Therapy Central

       MedBridge has allowed us to create a culture of learning that we were previously unable to attain with traditional coursework.

Zach Steele, PT, DPT, OCS
Outpatient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services

    MedBridge has created a cost-effective and quality platform that is the future of online education.

Grant R. Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE
Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get CEU credit?
Each course is individually accredited. Please check each course for your state and discipline. You can receive CEU credit after each course is completed.

When do I get my certificate?
You will receive accredited certificates of completion for each course as you complete them. Once you have completed the entire Certificate Program you will receive your certificate for the program.

*Accreditation Hours
Each course is individually accredited and exact hours will vary by state and discipline. Check each course for specific accreditation for your license.

Do I have to complete the courses in order?
It is not required that you complete the courses in order. Each Certificate Program's content is built to be completed sequentially but it is not forced to be completed this way.

How long do I have access to the Certificate Program?
You will have access to this Certificate Program for as long as you are a subscriber. Your initial subscription will last for one year from the date you purchase.

Sample Certificate

Sample Certificate

Complete this series to receive your certificate.

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Certificate Program
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