Purpose: To develop valid quality indicators (QIs) for physiotherapy care based on best available evidence, and to use these QIs to explore trends in the quality of physiotherapy care of patients with Whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) using guideline-based routinely collected data (RCD) gathered between 1996 and 2011.
Materials and methods: The study consisted of two phases: 1) development of QIs and 2) analysis of patient records. A set of QIs was developed based on recommendations in the scientific literature and the Dutch Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) "Physiotherapy Management and WAD". QIs were expressed as percentages, allowing target performance levels to be defined (≥80% or ≤30% depending on whether desired performance required a high or low score on a QI). We then analyzed WAD patient data (N = 810) collected over a period of 16 years in two physiotherapy practices, separating patients into two groups defined as before (Group A 1996-2002; n = 353) and after (Group B 2003-2011; n = 457) implementation and transition to the Dutch CPG "Physiotherapy Management and WAD".
Results: Using an iterative process and input from both experts and users, 28 QIs were developed and subsequently classified per step of the clinical reasoning process for physiotherapy care. Based on 16 years of RCD, we found that the clinical reasoning process differed significantly (P ≤ 0.05) between the groups, in favor of Group B. Twelve of the 25 indicators (48.0%) in Group A and 19 of 26 indicators (73.1%) in Group B met predetermined performance targets. The number of target indicators also differed significantly between groups, favoring Group B (P ≤ 0.05).
Conclusion: A preliminary set of novel QIs was developed. Using RCD and these QIs, we conclude that physiotherapy care in our study setting improved over the period 1996-2011. Furthermore, the QIs met the performance targets set for the clinical reasoning process after the transition to the Dutch CPG "Physiotherapy Management and WAD".
- Clinical guidelines
- Clinical reasoning process
- Quality indicators
- Quality of physiotherapy care
- Routinely collected data
- Whiplash-associated disorders