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Shivani B. Vij, OTD, OTR/L


Background: Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered profession vital to an interdisciplinary team. Despite its importance, medical providers have limited knowledge and understanding of OT's scope of practice. This can lead to limited referrals, ineffective teamwork, inefficient therapeutic outcomes, limited OT practice scope, and consumer access to OT services. This study explored physicians' knowledge and understanding of OT to find opportunities and strategies for education and knowledge sharing to improve awareness of OT practice and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Method: A descriptive online survey was conducted for physicians in a Virginia suburban hospital to obtain knowledge and perception about OT via 10 multiple-choice questions.

Results: The study summarized the results of a survey with 63 respondents. Of the 63 respondents, 49.2% were confident in their referral process for OT, 72.6% reported that OT is essential for improving rehabilitation outcomes, 34.3% of the respondents favored a presentation about OT, and 19.2% preferred reading literature to learn about OT.

Conclusion: Most participating physicians in the study perceived OT as an essential health care profession; however, they were unaware of its scope of practice. There is a critical need for awareness about OT to improve referrals, foster collaboration, improve therapeutic outcomes, and enhance the value of occupational therapists in an interdisciplinary team.


The author declares that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.