One-time physical therapist consultation in primary health care

Erik J.M. Hendriks, Jan J. Kerssens, Joost Dekker, Roger M. Nelson, Rob A.B. Oostendorp, Jouke Van Der Zee

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose. One-time physical therapist consultation, prior to possible referral for physical therapy intervention, may enhance the quality of patient care, particularly if the referring physician is uncertain as to whether intervention by a physical therapist will be beneficial. The purpose of this study was to describe the use of consultation by a group of primary care physicians (PCPs) who could refer patients for a one-time consultation. Subjects and Methods. A 7-month observational study was conducted in the Netherlands with 59 pairs of randomly selected PCPs and physical therapists practicing in primary health care. Data were collected for the PCPs, the physical therapists, and the patients. Self-administered questionnaires (completed at the start and at the completion of the study), consultation request and report forms, and treatment referral records from health insurance agencies were used to obtain data. National reference data on patients referred by PCPs for intervention by a physical therapist were used to compare the data of patients referred by PCPs for a one-time consultation. The number and nature of consultation requests were determined as well as patient characteristics. The PCPs' satisfaction with the outcome and process of a one-time consultation and its impact on PCPs' management decisions also were described. Results. The number of referrals for a one-time consultation was 352 (X̄=5.9 per PCP, SD=5.4, range=0-20), resulting in a mean referral rate of 4.7 per 1,000 patients (SD=4.6). Characteristics of patients referred for a one-time consultation differed from national reference data of patients referred by their PCP for intervention by a physical therapist. Discussion and Conclusion. The results show that PCPs used the opportunity for a one-time physical therapist consultation and were satisfied with the outcome and process of consultation. The findings suggest that a one-time consultation is an appropriate and beneficial component of PCPs' patient management process. [Hendriks EJM, Kerssens JJ, Dekker J, et al. One-time physical therapist consultation in primary health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-931
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003


  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Physical therapist consultation
  • Primary health care

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