Roger’s Adoption / Innovation Curve

I have come across this figure many times in the last few weeks and really been thinking more about it in terms of physical therapy. Many thanks to Eric Jorde PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. SMT, Cert. MDT for pointing the importance of it out to me initially. I then read further about the theory in Ronald Donelson’s Rapidly Reversible Low Back Pain book, and an editorial by Chad Cook in JMMT entitled ‘Emotional Based Practice’. I do recommend reading both of these literary texts for more information, as well as in more detail on the social phenomenon at Wikipedia.

As a clinical instructor, I have many roles but one of them I truly pursue is closing the gap between research, academia and clinical practice. I am firm with this position and really push it onto my interns, maybe a little too much! I don’t create a solid boundary around research and only stick by it, but I feel we need to do a better job at communicating the research; or better yet the innovation that has occurred over the last few years.

I do get personally upset if I get a student later in their clinical internship program and they have yet to be introduced to a clinical reasoning process approach using the best available evidence combined with clinical practice. This is especially unsettling if clinical practice was demonstrated by only their experience/expertise and not the other two legs of evidence-based practice. We can’t translate all evidence into practice behaviors but how are we going to transition the new breed of therapists into the ‘innovators’, ‘early adopter’, or ‘early majority’ when we, as clinical instructors, are ‘late majority’ and ‘laggards’?

If you teach the new era of professions, keep this in mind. There is a vast amount of knowledge out there, especially new knowledge. We don’t have to be all out with the old, but definitely need to be in with the new. Don’t be apprehensive about this new way of treatment. Instead, do it for your patients, do it for your profession, do it for the outcomes. I hope we can all be in this together to assist this breed of physical therapists to adopt this pattern of practicing.


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