Relevant patient perceptions and experiences for evaluating quality of interaction with physiotherapists during outpatient rehabilitation: a qualitative study

Physiotherapy. 2014 Mar;100(1):73-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Jun 16.


Objective: To identify elements of the physiotherapist-patient interaction considered by patients when they evaluate the quality of care in outpatient rehabilitation settings.

Design: A qualitative study with nine focus groups, Two researchers conducted the focus groups, and a topic guide with predetermined questions was used. Each group discussion was audiotaped,, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically according to a modified grounded theory approach.

Setting: Three postacute ambulatory centers in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville (Spain).

Participants: Fifty-seven adults undergoing outpatient rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions/injuries.

Results: Patients based their evaluations of quality of care on their assessment of physiotherapists' willingness to provide information and education, technical expertise and interpersonal manners (eg. respect, emotional support and sensitivity changes in the patient's status). Both positive and negative aspects of the physiotherapist-patient interaction emerged under all these themes, except for friendly and respectful communication.

Conclusion: This study identified which elements of the physiotherapist-patient interaction are considered by patients when evaluating the quality of care in rehabilitation outpatient settings. Further research should work to develop self-report questionnaires about patients' experiences of the physiotherapist-patient interaction in rehabilitation services to provide empirical and quantitative evidence.

Keywords: Outpatients; Physiotherapy; Qualitative research; Quality of health care; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception*
  • Physical Therapists / standards*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*