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Valuing Physiotherapy

The Value of Physiotherapy to Primary Health Care in Saskatchewan

"Primary health care (PHC) refers to an approach to health care that includes all services that play a part in health, such as income, housing, educaton and environment1. Primary care is the first point of contact with the health care system and is an element within PHC that focuses on health care services, including health promotion, illness and injury prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury1. PHC models are effective strategies to improve patient access to needed care while at the same time improving efficiency, coordination, and continuity to ensure health needs are met in the right place at the right time by the most appropriate health care provider(s)1.

Physiotherapists are well positioned to take on an increased role in PHC models in Saskatchewan." Read more...


The Canadian Physiotherapy Association identified the need to develop a means of assessing the value of physiotherapy services.  The main objective of the project was to assess the value of specific physiotherapy services in terms of the considerations that typically determine resource allocation in public sector health care organizations in Canada.

Two health economists conducted a study regarding the "Value of Physiotherapy".  The study used a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) as the evaluation tool.  MCDA involves the assessment of alternatives on the basis of a common set of criteria. This analysis includes more factors than just clinical effectiveness and cost.  Assessments established through MCDA are more likely to directly influence the decision-making process in health care organizations because they reflect the fact that multiple objectives (and thus multiple criteria) are in play within health care decision making.

The study assessed the value of physiotherapy to Canadians across twelve (12) practice areas, using 13 criteria (including cost effectiveness, patient satisfaction and health impact).  The twelve areas reviewed include:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Joint arthroplasty
  3. Stroke
  4. Home care
  5. Falls
  6. Pediatrics
  7. MSK
  8. Low back pain
  9. ICU
  10. Chronic disease management
  11. COPD
  12. Emergency
  13. NEW! Primary Health Care