Comparison of cost and outcome of care in patients with low back pain who are managed by physicians or physical therapists in private practice
The purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in the cost and outcome of care in patients with low back pain who were managed by physicians or physical therapists in private practice in the state of Arizona. A secondary purpose was to describe the current status of private practice physical therapy clinicians who treat patients with low back pain. A Survey on Practice was mailed to 194 physical therapists who were listed by the American Physical Therapy Association as being in private practice in Arizona. Eighty-three percent of the surveys were returned after three attempts. Of those which were returned, 72 were complete and included in the analysis. The 72 practices were screened to determine those eligible for the second phase of the study. Those eligible for the second phase numbered 52 clinics. Twenty-six practices agreed to participate; however, only 21 did participate. Clinics which participated were sent packets of information which were to be kept on each patient seen with a complaint of low back pain during a three month period. Packets contained a patient-oriented survey on functional activity to be completed before and after the physical therapy course of treatment, as well as a log which was completed by the physical therapist on the type of care given to the patient and an assessment of the outcome of treatment. The patient was asked to fill out a satisfaction survey relative to the care received from the physical therapist and physician, if applicable. Although 259 patients were entered into the study, 210 patient logs were available for analysis. Results indicated that generally, there was no difference in cost or outcome as measured by the final functional score, change between the initial and final functional scores, or the therapist-rated outcome between the patients who were managed by physicians or physical therapists when controlling for age and length of time the patient was experiencing pain. Patients were more satisfied with care received from physical therapists as compared to physicians. Age and length of pain were good predictors of the type of referral patients received according to a logistic regression procedure. The initial disability score (IRS) and the time spent in the facility predicted therapist-rated outcome, a good or poor final disability score (FRS), and a good or poor change score. In addition, age predicted FRS and change scores. The time that the therapist spent in direct contact with the patient also predicted the change score. These findings of no difference in the cost and outcome of care were discussed as they relate to the practice of medicine and physical therapy.
Overby, Averell Russell, "Comparison of cost and outcome of care in patients with low back pain who are managed by physicians or physical therapists in private practice" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401779.