Data for Impact: exploring the benefits of standardised data collection in private physiotherapy practices across the UK

Elizabeth Bryant, Shemane Murtagh, George Olivier, A Moore

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Purpose: Physiotherapists’ record patient’s clinical examination data on a routine basis however, the consistency of the records and breadth of data recorded may be subject to considerable variation between individuals. Online standardised data collection (SDC) systems, if carried out rigorously, offers clinicians an excellent opportunity to show how efficient, timely and equitable their services are. Physio First (the Organisation for Chartered Physiotherapists in Private Practice in the UK) provides its members with the opportunity to participate in an online SDC project for patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. The purpose being to provide Physio First and its practitioners with detailed information about current practice, patient demographics and outcome of care within MSK physiotherapy private practices in the UK. Methods: All Physio First members who treat patients with MSK conditions were invited to participate in the study. 521 practitioners were recruited to the study. Practitioners were asked to input data including patient details, diagnosis, body site, referral source, treatment and discharge information (i.e., goal achievement, outcome of referral) for their MSK patients. Practitioners who met certain criteria were provided with an individualised report, comparing details of their own data to the national data. Two months after receiving their report the practitioners (n=77) were contacted via email and asked to provide feedback on their report and their experience of participating in the project. This was an online survey questionnaire design (via Survey Monkey) comprising of 10 open ended and closed questions. Content analysis was used to analyse data from the open ended questions. Results: The survey response was 50.6%. Almost all practitioners (97.4%) reported finding the individualised report beneficial to them. Sole practitioners found it particularly reassuring to see how their performance compared with the national average. Practitioners stated the individualised report had stimulated reflective practice (82.1%) and helped identify Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs by identifying strengths & weaknesses, as well as providing evidence towards their ongoing CPD (92.3%). The practitioners who were business owners (88.6%), commented on the benefits of having a report produced by an outside body for business management (helping negotiations with insurers/referral agencies), for marketing (providing information on target market) and for highlighting areas for development. 79.5% of practitioners reported it likely that the report would lead to some changes in their practice. Additionally 84.6% of practitioners stated that participating in the project had inspired them to start collecting patient reported outcome measure (PROM) data from their patients. Conclusions: Providing individualised reports to private practitioners, demonstrating how their MSK data compares to the national data, was found to be extremely beneficial for their development and their business. Implications: Physiotherapists in private practice are becoming increasingly aware of the need to be able to demonstrate and account for the delivery and quality of their clinical services. SDC provides useful information to all involved in terms of patient profiling, marketing, evidence of outcomes, benchmarking and identifying areas for personal learning and professional development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018
EventPhysiotherapy UK Conference - ICC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Oct 201820 Oct 2018


ConferencePhysiotherapy UK Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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