Exploring the clinical use of ultrasound imaging: A survey of physiotherapists in New Zealand

Richard Ellis, Rachel De Jong, Sanda Bassett, Jake Helsby, Maria Stokes, Melinda Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: In New Zealand ultrasound imaging (USI) is being used increasingly by physiotherapists. To fully understand the extent to which physiotherapists in New Zealand are using USI, it is necessary to evaluate not only the context of its clinical use but also the barriers preventing its uptake.
Objectives: To examine the field and scope of use of USI, the type and content of training and the barriers restricting physiotherapists from using the technique.
Design: Cross-sectional observational design utilising an Internet-based electronic survey.
Method: An electronic survey built on the design of previous research with guidance from an expert review panel. Participants were included if they were New Zealand registered physiotherapists.
Results: Of the 465 participants who responded, 433 were eligible to complete the survey. There were 415 participants who completed the survey, 24% who said they used USI whilst 76% did not. For those using USI, the uses were varied including those within a rehabilitative paradigm (i.e. biofeedback; 52%) and also diagnostic (49%). USI training was also varied ranging from formal to informal. The main barriers preventing physiotherapists from using USI were lack of training, access to equipment, and equipment expense.
Conclusions: The participants reported a variety of clinical uses of USI and levels of training. A better understanding of the clinical uses and benefits of USI would enhance both training and clinical uptake. With the identification of barriers limiting physiotherapists’ use of USI, ways to overcome these in New Zealand can now be explored further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalManual Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Physiotherapists
  • Survey
  • Ultrasound imaging


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