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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Improving patient experience in a musculoskeletal physiotherapy service

The aim of this service evaluation was to improve patient experience of physiotherapy in the musculoskeletal outpatient service. The specific objectives were to:

  • design and evaluate an information leaflet for new patients
  • evaluate patients' experiences of physiotherapy using a standardised tool
  • increase adherence to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy's Core Standards.

This was a service evaluation with repeat measures design, comprising 9 stages and including individual feedback for physiotherapists.

The key improvements directly resulting from this service evaluation are:

  • statistically significant improvements in patients' satisfaction with the service
  • improved adherence to the CSP's Core Standards
  • reduced waiting times (reduced by 12 weeks within the first 3 months of the revised systems)
  • reduced non-attendance of appointments (6% mean decrease in wasted appointments)
  • improved information sent to patients in advance and displayed in the waiting areas
  • enhanced documentation.

Individual feedback for clinicians has proved so popular for their personal development, Agenda for Change and professional re-registration, it has been extended to other service evaluations and audits across the service.

It is essential that clinical services are evaluated through the eyes of the service-users. This work has shown that merely raising physiotherapists' awareness of their professional core standards is insufficient; active implementation strategies, requiring changes at system level, are necessary.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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