A Review of AccessPhysiotherapy
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(Editor’s Note: Last month’s DCDM featured a review of the F.A. Davis PT Collection, which is available only on the AccessPhsyiotherapy platform. To read that review, click here.)

Rebecca Dillen, MLS
Health Sciences Librarian
Geneva R. Johnson Physical Therapy Library
University of the Incarnate Word


AccessPhysiotherapy is a multifaceted physical therapy database from McGraw-Hill Medical and is part of their array of online healthcare information resources such as AccessMedicine and AccessPharmacy. AccessPhysiotherapy contains information for both clinical and academic settings with an intended audience of practicing physical therapists, doctoral physical therapy students, and physical therapy faculty members.

Contents include textbooks, multimedia, an interactive National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE®) review, case studies, an interactive cadaver dissection tool, study tools, a lecture series, drug monographs, and answers for common conditions. The textbooks include 48 current editions and approximately 17 older editions. Some of the older editions are in an archived section that is only kept for a limited time, but others are mixed in with the current editions. It would be helpful if all of the older editions were kept in the archived section. The titles include widely-used books such as Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, and Intervention, 3e and Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy: An Evidence-Based Approach, 3e. The multimedia content is extensive, ranging from lectures to interactive modules and videos. The clinical presentation of disease and the examination/evaluation videos would be particularly beneficial for students.

The Advisory Board consists of Dr. Annie Burke-Doe of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and Dr. Eric Shamus, Professor in the Florida Gulf Coast University Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Both advisory board members are well published in the field, including textbook and lecture content in AccessPhysiotherapy.


AccessPhysiotherapy has search functions for everything in the database or within a specific book. Users may also do a federated search across all McGraw-Hill Medical sites with the search results automatically filtered to content available through the institution’s subscriptions. Although there is not an advanced search feature in the traditional sense, the results of a database-wide search may be filtered by format or modified to run the search by other options, such as author. In an example search for pressure ulcers in the Quick Answers: Physiotherapy section, there were several less than relevant results. However, searching using the term “pressure ulcers” in quotation marks over the entire database, relevant book chapters were easy to find. Thus, the Quick Answers section is most useful if the topic is already pulled out as a featured topic. Adding the intuitive search function or suggested spellings to the Quick Answers search feature would be helpful.

AccessPhysiotherapy works with mobile devices. Combined with the search features, the Quick Answers, the Drug Monographs, and the Outcome Measures Toolbox, the database becomes a viable point-of-care tool for clinicians. Practicing physical therapists also might enjoy the 15 Brukner/Khan’s, Clinical Sports Medicine Audio Discussions, which range in length from 12 to 36 minutes.

One of the notable features of this database is the ability to purchase a site license with unlimited concurrent users. Allowing multiple users facilitates course assignments for a cohort of students.

Other areas of the resource that shine for academia are the case studies and personalization of content. The cases are divided into 10 areas including Orthopedic Case Studies by Mark Dutton and Therapeutic Modalities by William E. Prentice. Case studies are generally presented in text format and culminate with open-ended questions. To save answers, the user must create a MyAccess profile, which will work across all the Access sites. A recent addition is the ability to rename quizzes when saving them. This adds to the functionality of turning in assignments. The folders within MyAccess may be exported into a course management system and images can be downloaded straight into PowerPoint presentations with citations included on the slide. There are star icons to save favorite content in folders within MyAccess. The database uses the Hypothesis software to allow for annotation and group sharing.

An area for AccessPhysiotherapy to explore in the future is integrating the videos with cases so that students can change progress based upon the choices they make while viewing videos. This could simulate patient interaction, including providing cases where symptoms are inconsistent with a condition that could be appropriately treated with physical therapy. Diagnosis by physical therapists has been a controversial topic with the adoption of direct access to physical therapy care to varying degrees in every state. Interactive multimedia case studies could help in the training of future physical therapists.

Continuing education modules are not included in this database and could be a beneficial enhancement for individual subscribers.

Business Model

A subscription to the database for universities is based upon a full-time equivalent count of physical therapy students and is renewable annually. User authentication can be controlled through IP address and EZProxy. McGraw-Hill Medical offers COUNTER 4 and the new COUNTER 5 compliant reports, which include platform, book, and multimedia reports. In addition, McGraw-Hill’s own Institutional Product Activity reports allow librarians using an electronic resource management system or library management system to access and download an institution’s COUNTER reports for Access databases via Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) automated statistics gathering protocol.

The McGraw-Hill Medical products are also available to individuals through subscriptions. The current published rate for individuals is $595 per year or $34.95 for 24 hours. Practicing physical therapists may find the product useful to locate quick, reliable information on patient conditions and prescription drugs. The videos also would be useful to hone a clinician’s knowledge about specialty areas and interventions. Recently-graduated physical therapy students would find access to the National Physical Therapy Exam® Review Section particularly useful. The section includes the review book with over 1,000 questions as well as a simulated NPTE® examination.


AccessPhysiotherapy is a sound purchase for university libraries supporting the curriculum of doctoral physical therapy degrees. The books, case studies, multimedia, and NPTE® examination preparation are all robust in content. AccessPhysiotherapy is worthy of consideration for individuals to purchase if they have a strong preference for learning through multimedia or if they are preparing to take the NPTE®. However, practicing clinicians should probably compare the content with what is available through their American Physical Therapy Association memberships before making the investment.

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1 Comment

  1. Paige Norman September 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    So proud of this lady and her knowledge as a health librarian.

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