Is physiotherapy self-referral with telephone triage viable, cost-effective and beneficial to musculoskeletal outpatients in a primary care setting?

MALLETT, Ross, BAKKER, Edward and BURTON, Maria (2014). Is physiotherapy self-referral with telephone triage viable, cost-effective and beneficial to musculoskeletal outpatients in a primary care setting? Musculoskeletal Care, 12 (4), 251-260.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/msc.1075
Link to published version:: 10.1002/msc.1075

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the present study was to establish if physiotherapy self-referral (SR) is viable, cost effective and beneficial to musculoskeletal outpatients in a primary care setting.

Setting: In an urban National Health Service (NHS) primary care physiotherapy service, waiting times, attendance rates and treatment ratios (thus, episode-of-care costs) were deemed unsustainable. The introduction of 'Any Qualified Provider' is imminent and will drive NHS physiotherapy services to compete directly with private counterparts. Current literature, healthcare policy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy strongly advocate SR to promote value for money and improve the patient experience.

Design: A repeated measure prospective cohort study introduced an SR pathway parallel to existing general practice (GP) referrals and compared costs, attendance and data relating to the patient experience across groups.

Results: SR referral groups were found to have a higher proportion of female patients presenting with acute conditions. Cost minimization analysis indicated an average 32.3% reduction in episode-of-care cost with an SR-initiated intervention. An estimated cost minimization of between £84,387.80 and £124,472.06 was calculated if SR were to be expanded service-wide. SR referral reduced waiting times and improved patient satisfaction relating to waiting times and communication compared with traditional pathways.

Conclusions: The results of the present study showed that the introduction of the described SR pathway was feasible, cost-effective and offered comparable care. Certain aspects of the SR patient experience compared more favourably than those studied in traditional GP referral routes. They also added to an existing body of evidence supporting SR with a variety of administrative processes in various socioeconomic settings.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1002/msc.1075
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 09:47
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2014 09:47
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9095

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