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DOI

10.25035/jsmahs.04.03.01

Abstract

Purpose: The relationship between athletic trainers (ATs) and physicians is a legal obligation and collaboration to improve patient outcomes. The objective of this study was to examine the knowledge of physicians regarding the educational preparation, legal obligations, and scope of practice for ATs and how it relates to previous experiences with ATs. Additionally physicians’ perceptions of Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC) were studied. Methods: 169 physicians medical doctors (MD)=133/169, 78.7%, doctor of osteopathy (DO)=36/169, 21%) completed a 36-question web-based survey, which included a validated IPC scale. Results: Respondents with experience working with an AT scored significantly higher (P < 0.01) on the knowledge assessment, where physicians currently working with an AT scored higher (5.4/8) than those who previously worked with an AT (4.2/8) and those who had never worked with an AT (3.3/8). Additionally, physicians with previous exposure to an AT as an athlete had significantly higher knowledge scores than those without exposure (P < 0.01). Two areas of weakness in IPC from the physician’s perspective included sharing of important information (2.48/4) and importance of work as compared to others on the team (2.38/4). Conclusions: Physicians who have a current working relationship with an AT and those that had access to an AT as an athlete demonstrated significantly higher knowledge about an AT’s academic preparation, legal obligations, and scope of practice. Moreover, physicians currently working with an AT report positive interprofessional collaborations.

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