Evaluation of the satisfaction of physical therapy patients in outpatient care

ABSTRACT Satisfaction is determined by the patient’s reaction to the service received, acting as a sensitive indicator of quality in medical care. The goal of this study was to compare the satisfaction of patients receiving outpatient physical therapy treatment in public clinics (PC), private healthcare clinics (PHC) and school clinics (SC). A total of 382 patients aged over 18 years old who had been to at least five appointments were divided into three groups. A questionnaire containing questions about sociodemographic data and overall satisfaction as well as satisfaction with the patient-therapist relationship, access to and support offered by the team, convenience and the environment was used. The majority of the patients was female (68.6%), their mean age being 52.0 years old. In the comparison of the services, the school clinic showed greater satisfaction rates than the public clinics in relation to the support team, convenience and physical environment; and greater satisfaction rates than the private healthcare clinics in relation the therapist-patient relationship and overall satisfaction. The private healthcare clinics were better evaluated than the public clinics in relation to convenience and physical environment. The correlation analysis between overall satisfaction and each variable showed good and moderate values for the therapist-patient relationship variable and the lowest values for the convenience variable. The questionnaire had good internal consistency and coherence for the three services (α≥0.94). These results represent an important indicator of the patients’ perception about the services investigated, allowing the proper implementation of public, private and academic policies aimed at the improvement of the quality of physical therapy care.