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Comparison of clinical physical therapy in Western Canada and the Northwest United States

1 May 1993


The United States is currently considering at the Canadian universal health care system, in which the government insures all citizens, as a possible model to implement to reform the United States health care system. If this plan was adopted, American physical therapy services could change. The purpose of this study is to describe the differences between physical therapy services in the United States and in Canada. A questionnaire was sent to 400 outpatient orthopedic physical therapists in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada. Forty-three percent of the targeted population responded. The responses indicated that in Canada the average patient evaluation and treatment, 19 minutes and 32 minutes, respectively, are significantly shorter (p=0.0001) than in the United States where an average evaluation last 40 minutes and an average treatment session, 52 minutes. It was found that in the United States physical therapists use more home exercise programs and more modalities including heat and cold, ultrasound and electrical muscular stimulation than in Canada. In the U.S. 72.3% of physical therapists disagreed that the present HCS meets the needs of the U.S.. However, 78.1% of Canadian physical therapists agreed that their HCS meets the needs of Canada.


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