Availability, usage, and factors affecting usage of electrophysical agents by physical therapists: a regional cross-sectional survey

J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Nov;28(11):3088-3094. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.3088. Epub 2016 Nov 29.


[Purpose] The aim of this study was to investigate the availability, usage, and factors affecting usage of electrophysical agents by physical therapists in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. [Subjects and Methods] Questionnaires were sent to all 1,571 physical therapists working in 245 institutions within Nagano Prefecture. A total of 1,110 questionnaires were returned, out of which 1,099 (70%) questionnaires containing valid responses were analyzed. Frequencies and percentages were calculated for 22 modalities with regards to availability, usage, rate of usage, and confidence level in usage. Factors affecting usage and the relationship between rate of usage and confidence level (Spearman's rho) were also determined. [Results] The top three responses for the various outcome measures were as follows: (1) hot packs (88%), low frequency stimulators (76%), and ultrasound (68%) for availability; (2) hot packs (72%), ultrasound (61%), and cold packs (59%) for usage; (3) hot packs (75%), cold spray (49%), and ultrasound (44%) for confidence in usage; and (4) equipment availability (80%), past experience (79%), and research evidence (78%) for factors affecting usage. There was a significant positive relationship between confidence and usage for all modalities, except for ultraviolet radiation, iontophoresis, and magnetic field. [Conclusion] Usage was strongly correlated with confidence, with the top three used modalities also being the ones with the highest confidence in usage.

Keywords: Availability; Physical modalities; Usage.