Background and purpose: The purposes of this 3-phase study were (1) to identify the underlying components of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy and (2) to develop a test that would yield reliable and valid measurements of these components.
Subjects: Three samples, consisting of 177, 257, and 173 outpatients from 21 facilities, were used in phases 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
Methods and results: In phase 1, principal component analyses (PCAs), reliability checks, and correlations with social desirability scales were used to reduce a pool of 98 items to 32 items. These analyses identified a 5-component model of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy. The phase 2 PCA, with a revised pool of 48 items, indicated that 4 components rather than 5 components represented the best model and resulted in the 34-item Physical Therapy Outpatient Satisfaction Survey (PTOPS). Factor analyses conducted with phase 2 and phase 3 data supported this conclusion and provided evidence for the internal validity of the PTOPS scores. The 4-component scales were labeled "Enhancers," "Detractors," "Location," and "Cost." Responses from subsamples of phase 3 subjects provided evidence for validity of scores in that the PTOPS components of "Enhancers," "Detractors," and "Cost" appeared to differentiate overtly satisfied patients from overtly dissatisfied patients. "Location" and "Enhancer" scores discriminated subjects with excellent attendance at scheduled physical therapy sessions from those with poor attendance.
Conclusion and discussion: In this study, we identified components of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy and used them to develop a test that would yield valid and reliable measurements of these components.