DAC Course 1: Differential Diagnosis and Medical Screening

Program: DAC

Instructor: Dr. DuVall 

Course Description:  This course is designed to provide the student with knowledge and skills to competently differentially diagnose and prognosticate movement impairments and medically screen patients for non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions, interpret clinical findings, and make sound clinical judgments that include providing appropriate inter and intra-professional referrals for conditions and co-morbidities that exceed the practitioners’ expertise or scope of physical therapy practice.  This course will emphasize diagnostic theories and process skills (ie, methodologies, differential processes, specificity, sensitivity, likelihood ratios, gold standards, etc) to perform a more comprehensive examination scheme that will lead to more efficient and effective clinical reasoning.  Other topics covered will include screening for co-morbidities including depression and integumentary problems.  Learners will interpret abnormal lab values and selected imaging studies as well as understanding side-effects of commonly used pharmaceutical drugs that result in the advancement of clinical mastery.  

Intended Audience: PTs, PTAs 

Prerequisites/Requirements: None 

Course Objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: 

  • Complete a Direct Access Pre-Test prior to beginning course to establish a baseline knowledge of Direct Access practice 
  • Differentiate between differential diagnosis of movement impairments from medical screening through case and small group discussion 
  • Apply knowledge of the diagnostics theory, and process skills to solve clinical problems presented through case scenarios and presented by small group 
  • Perform screening procedures to identify abnormalities, and signs and symptoms potentially arising from visceral structures of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis during lab activity.   
  • Demonstrate an understanding how comorbidities, depression, and abnormal lab values impact clinical decision making.  
  • Identify signs or symptoms that do not conform to neuromusculoskeletal problems which may necessitate a referral to an appropriate health care provider. 
  • Demonstrate appropriate set up and execution of medical screening procedures as found on skills check off sheet during lab session. 




7:30 AM: Registration and Introduction 

8:00 AM:  

  • Introduction, Role of Physical Therapists as Diagnosticians, Differential Diagnostic Theories, Scientific Evidence, Test Characteristics: Sensitivity, Specificity and Likelihood Ratios, Subjective Examination and Review of Systems – Lecture 

10:00 AM: Break  

10:10 AM:  

  • Medical Screening Principles, Integumentary Screening, Pharmacological Issues, Abnormal Lab Values, Residents’ Clinical Case Studies – Lecture 

12:00 PM: Lunch Break  

12:30 PM:  

  • Physical Examination Lab Procedures to Screen for Serious Disorders of the Head, Neck, Chest, and Upper Quarter – Lab 

3:00 PM: Break  

3:10 PM:  

  • Physical Examination Lab Procedures to Screen for Serious Disorders of the Head, Neck, Chest, and Upper Quarter, Thoracic Spine and Ribs – Lab 

5:40 PM: Adjourn 



8:00 AM:  

  • Physical Examination Lab Procedures to Screen for Serious Disorders of the Low Back and Lower Quarter – Lab 

10:00 AM: Break  

10:10 AM:  

  • Biomechanical Based Screening for Hernia, Marfan’s Syndrome, Ethler’s Danlos Syndrome – Lab 

12:00 PM:  Break 

12:10 PM:  

  • Screening Integration Laboratory, Problem Solving, Case Considerations – Lab 

1:50 PM:  

  • Case Application, Questions and Answers  

2:00 PM: Adjourn      



Jan 22 - 23 2022


8:00 am - 2:00 pm




Twinboro Physical Therapy
New Jersey
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