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Physiotherapy in Australia has long been known for its evidence-based approach and robust research that informs the standards of practice and methods our physiotherapists use to treat and transform patients’ lives.

Likewise, the Council strives to employ the best practices for accreditation of entry level physiotherapy programs, and assessment of overseas qualified practitioners, by seeking to build our methods on the foundation of solid research and evidence.

As the world continues to change, and Australian healthcare practitioners, such as physiotherapists, are expected to respond to current and future needs of our communities, our profession needs to constantly adapt. Innovation and adaptation have been part of the Council’s DNA for many years, and if we’ve learnt anything from the experience of surviving the COVID pandemic, we know now more than ever, we must build resilient organisations, people and processes that withstand whatever disruption might come our way.

So how has the Council responded to the changing context of assessing overseas qualified physiotherapists seeking to join the Australian profession?

Last October, we announced the commencement of the research project to explore a more resilient model of Clinical Assessment. The purpose of investing in this important research was to explore and validate a new remote model of clinical assessment, with the goal of developing an assessment that could be remotely accessible by candidates anywhere in the world.

What progress has been made so far on the Remote Clinical Research Project?

We’ve begun developing and testing a model and this research has provided important insights and data. There’s been vital learnings and key questions raised for further development, in order to ensure that the future model of Clinical Assessment is robust, fair, consistent and assesses candidates according to the standards of practice in Australia. Whatever model is developed, must ensure that overseas physiotherapists are assessed as safe to practice as Australian physiotherapists – this is the Council’s mandate and commitment to the profession and the Australian community!

What’s next?

There is more work to be done on the Remote Clinical Research Project, as we partner with researchers and the Australian physiotherapy profession to develop a suitable remote clinical assessment model. The timeline is undetermined, as we are focused on the right, robust and appropriate model, rather than a predefined date. The Council has committed itself to this multi-year research project to develop a future best practice and evidence-based model.

We are excited to be innovating a world first remote clinical assessment process capable of ensuring tomorrow's physiotherapy workforce.

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