For Physical Therapy Consumers/Patients

A 2007 study conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC) found that more than 95% of respondents believed that health care professionals should be required to demonstrate current knowledge and skills needed to provide quality care as a condition of retaining their licenses. The study also found that 90% percent of the respondents indicated it is very important for health care professionals to be re-evaluated periodically for purposes of demonstrating current competence to practice safely.

These findings were cited in the joint publication of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Continuing Competence in Physical Therapy: An Ongoing Discussion. This paper posits "The next step is to consider the specific factors that are evolving in physical therapy that influence the need for continuing competence. As physical therapists are able to perform differential diagnosis, continue to move toward unlimited direct access, and transform physical therapy into a doctoring profession, do they play an increasing role in public health and therefore have an increased responsibility to demonstrate their competence?"

Quality health care delivery and patient safety are reliant on requirements and systems that ensure continuing competence on the part of the clinician. Assessing continuing competence must be less about retrospective attempts to weed out incompetence and more about implementing public policy change that is congruent with consumers’ expectations and that reflects contemporary research on continuing competence.