Development and Evaluation of an Implementation Strategy for Collecting Data in a National Registry and the Use of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Physical Therapist Practices: Quality Improvement Study

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Abstract

Background.

In 2013, the Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy launched the program “Quality in Motion.” This program aims to collect data from electronic health record systems in a registry that is fed back to physical therapists, facilitating quality improvement.

Purpose.

The purpose of this study was to describe the development of an implementation strategy for the program and to evaluate the feasibility of building a registry and implementing patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in physical therapist practices.

Methods.

A stepwise approach using mixed methods was established in 3 consecutive pilots with 355 physical therapists from 66 practices. Interim results were evaluated using quantitative data from a self-assessment questionnaire and the registry and qualitative data from 21 semistructured interviews with physical therapists. Descriptive statistics and McNemar's symmetry chi-squared test were used to summarize the feasibility of implementing PROMs.

Results.

PROMs were selected for the 5 most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions in Dutch physical therapist practices. A core component of the implementation strategy was the introduction of knowledge brokers to support physical therapists in establishing the routine use of PROMs in clinical practice and to assist in executing peer assessment workshops. In February 2013, 30.3% of the physical therapist practices delivered 4.4 completed treatment episodes per physical therapist to the registry; this increased to 92.4% in November 2014, delivering 54.1 completed patient episodes per physical therapist. Pre- and posttreatment PROM use increased from 12.2% to 39.5%.

Limitations.

It is unclear if the participating physical therapists reflect a representative sample of Dutch therapists.

Conclusion.

Building a registry and implementing PROMs in physical therapist practices are feasible. The routine use of PROMs needs to increase to ensure valid feedback of outcomes. Using knowledge brokers is promising for implementing the program via peer assessment workshops.

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