Do patients value physiotherapy?
Often as clinicians we value a good clinical outcome above all else. While we should always prioritise this highly, we should also consider the other aspects of care that are critical to delivering successful care.
When we think about the things that our patients value about healthcare, often they will describe things that are important to them that might be slightly different than what clinicians think is important. ‘I am treated like an individual rather than a number’, ‘I now have a great explanation of what is going on’ and ‘I could access an appointment at a time that was convenient’ are comments that you would like to hear about your services.
These are the type of comments you are more likely to hear than ‘the clinical governance in this health service is outstanding’ or ‘I really admired the way my physio took into account the research evidence and my preferences in determining an approach to my condition.’
When we actively seek feedback from patients, they will often assume high standards of safety and clinical excellence. While often this is a reasonable assumption, we know that as professionals the most important characteristics in our safety and quality efforts is to constantly strive to improve in every aspect of what we do. This embedded characteristic of continuous improvement should actively be applied to all aspects of care and service delivery.
As a profession, we naturally focus on staying up to date clinically, being safe in our service delivery and continuing to be better clinicians.
We should also focus on providing a great experience of care. We should focus on providing great explanations to our patients. We should focus on the customer service aspects of healthcare.
The greatest enabler of future success of the physiotherapy industry is the number of patients having a great experience of physiotherapy treatment. Conversely, the greatest threat is not meeting the expectations of our patients.
Let’s continue to ensure that the Australian community has a great experience of safe, high quality physiotherapy care.
Marcus Dripps, APAM
APA National President
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