Extending the scope of practice for allied health professionals may be cost-effective and may improve patient outcomes

Added April 29, 2020

Citation: Saxon RL, Gray MA, Oprescu FI. Extended roles for allied health professionals: an updated systematic review of the evidence. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2014; 7: 479-88

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a great strain on healthcare workers. Existing research on the effects of extended roles for allied health professionals might provide information to can help policy makers to help with this.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies examining the extension of the scope roles of allied health professionals in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology.  They restricted their search to studies published in English from 2005 to 2013.  They included 21 studies, including cohort studies, surveys, focus groups and semi-structured interviews.

What was found: Extending the scope of practice for allied health professionals may be cost-effective and may improve patient outcomes.

Legislative barriers that exist in healthcare may be challenging for allied health professionals to enable them to extend their professional scope.

What’s uncertain: The overall impact of extended roles of allied health professionals on patient outcomes, cost effectiveness, training requirements, niche identification and sustainability are uncertain.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.