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Differential Diagnosis and Medical Screening Introduced by North American Seminars, Inc.

Medical Screening for the presence of disease processes has always been an important part of a comprehensive patient evaluation. A general knowledge of various disease processes and knowing when to refer a patient to their physician for further evaluation and testing is critically important.

Differential Diagnosis and Medical Screening Introduced by North American Seminars, Inc.
Franklin, TN, January 26, 2010 --( North American Seminars Inc. introduces a new physical therapy continuing education course, Differential Diagnosis and Medical Screening. Screening for the presence of disease processes has always been an important part of a comprehensive patient evaluation. However, in this era of direct access to patients, a general knowledge of various disease processes and knowing when to refer a patient to their physician for further evaluation and testing is critically important. In fact, many states and medical insurance companies require that physical therapists who see patients directly, attend continuing education coursework in Differential Diagnosis evaluation techniques. One of the goals of the APTA’s “Vision 2020” is that every state in the US will enact Direct Access legislation by the year 2020.

While providing required continuing education units, this course offers an overview of the various elements that must be considered in the Medical Screening of patients, including: a comprehensive medical history, Red Flag symptoms in various body regions, research findings on clinical predictive rules for various orthopedic complaints, the significance of vital signs and the body’s physiologic response to exercise, basic tenets of physical examination by body system, and an overview of pharmacology and imaging studies. Lab components will focus on vital signs, UE and LE neural tension testing, and heart/lung/abdominal examination.

This course is designed for therapists and is taught by practicing physical therapists. As such, the subject matter was chosen for clinical relevance, as opposed to being presented from an academic or purely medical perspective. It contains information useful for therapists in any practice setting where patients with multiple medical conditions and/or medications are encountered, such as hospitals, nursing homes, home care, and outpatient clinics with complex orthopedic and neurologic caseloads.

The provided course book will include the powerpoint slides used in this presentation, a Medical History questionnaire template, and a series of case studies designed to bring together the various components covered in the course. This course will provide physical therapists with a solid foundation in differential diagnosis, which is crucial when dealing with complex patient issues and when seeing patients as a primary care provider.

Course Objectives:
- Present an overview of the role of the physical therapist as it pertains to direct access and differential diagnosis.
- Relay the importance of comprehensive history taking in efforts to identify “red flags” that may indicate the presence of potential serious medical conditions.
- Provide information and direction in design and implementation of a medical history questionnaire.
- Review the clinical significance of vital signs and the normal vs. pathophysiologic changes seen with exercises.
- Review and examination of major body organ systems including, skin, cardiopulmonary, abdominal, musculoskeletal, neurological and psychological.
- Recognize the indication for commonly prescribed diagnosis testing and their clinical significance.
- Discuss pertinent pharmacologic issues including commonly used medications and nutritional supplements, side effects, and potential interactions of physical therapy treatments with medications.
- Use case studies to highlight the clinical decision making processes in Differential Diagnosis and treatment vs. referral considerations.
- Hands on lab time to practice examination components including taking vital signs, inspection, percussion, palpation, and auscultation.
- Lab performance of upper and lower quarter screening, cranial nerve exam, and neurologic testing.
- Review and practice of neural tension testing techniques and special tests included in clinical prediction rules.

Mark Kerestan PT, PA-C, CEAS attended Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Medical Science in 1984 (Physician Assistant program). Upon successful completion of the National Certification Examination, Mr. Kerestan began his professional career working in correctional medicine and public health. While working as a Physician Assistant, he decided to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988 with a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and was the recipient of the George and Eileen McHenry Scholarship Award. Mr. Kerestan has worked for Orthopedic Sports and Physical Therapy Associates (OSPTA), for the past 20 years. His practice emphasis has been on Work Injury Management. He is certified to perform the Ergoscience Physical Work Performance Evaluation (FCE system) and is a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist through the Back School of Atlanta. Mr. Kerestan research study, “Work Conditioning Return to Work Outcomes at an Outpatient Physical Therapy Office” was published in the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice journal and was a poster presentation at the Pennsylvania PT Association Annual Conference. It is Mr. Kerestan’s dual training and work as both a physical therapist and physician assistant that have prepared him to present on the topic of Medical Screening and Differential Diagnosis.

Daniel W. Higgins, Jr., PT, DPT, OCS, ATChas been practicing in the Physical Therapy and Athletic Training fields for 15 years. He is a licensed PT with a board certification in orthopedics through the APTA, and a certified athletic trainer. Dan is a 1995 graduate from Duquesne University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Athletic Training. He then graduated from Chatham University with a Masters in Physical Therapy followed by a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2002. Dan is a staff physical therapist with the private outpatient practice of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Associates, Inc. (OSPTA), where he holds the position of direct access coordinator and continuing education coordinator. He began his career as a certified athletic trainer in which he worked in multiple settings ranging from college and high school athletic teams to the physical therapy clinical setting. With his combined specialization in orthopedic physical therapy and athletic training, evaluating musculoskeletal injuries has always been a focus of Dan’s career. This experience has prepared him to present on the topics of differential diagnosis and medical screening.

2010 Dates (updated weekly)

May 22 - 23 Houston NW Medical Center Houston, TX
June 5 - 6 Aurora Medical Center Kenosha, WI
June 26-27 Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center Las Vegas, NV
September 25-26 St. Anthony's Medical Center St. Louis, MO

Check out for an updated listing of dates and locations.

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North American Seminars Inc
Tom Vastano

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