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Where are we now?

We are delighted to announce that we have launched our Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner (QAP) scheme to our full and affiliate members of Physio First. We are currently planning our practice-wide QAP scheme. More details will be released soon. For now, we are encouraging members to ensure all their staff and subcontractors are members so they can submit data, ready for practice wide QAP.

Based on more than a decade of research and data analysis, the quality assurance scheme means you will be able to benchmark your outcomes and show just how well you are doing against pre-set baseline data.

Achieve this quality mark of approval and prove to existing and potential clients just how good you really are!

The Physio First QAP mark will also mean patients and the public enjoy peace of mind and reassurance that, as a private physiotherapist, you adhere to high standards of treatment and professionalism. Once you have achieved the QAP mark this could make the difference between patients booking an appointment with you – or going elsewhere!

Our Quality Assured Practitioner scheme is a member who inputs sufficient data using our Data for Impact tool and whose data meets the criteria. If you would like to find out more please email your query to minerva@physiofirst.org.uk so our friendly membership team can supply you with the relevant information.

 

All you need to know about QAP

How do I become a Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner?

All applicants must be inputting data into our continuous web-based Data for Impact (DfI) project and must have submitted sufficient data on a minimum number of discharged patients to receive an individual report.

Our full Physio First data bank is analysed independently by the University of Brighton and it is from this data that a baseline for defining robust and defendable “quality” will be set. Any participating practitioner can be termed a Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner if they demonstrate outcomes in our individual data that are above this baseline and their patients submit data from a validated PROM which verifies these outcomes.

Why do we need this scheme?

Society demands authenticity. Validated data can be turned into evidence of this.

We give and share data everywhere we go from interactive fitness apps to retail reward cards and hotel loyalty discounts. In the healthcare marketplace, authenticity means being able to prove our cost effectiveness. In our world as private practitioners, this is demonstrated by measurable quality treatment with outcomes.

What exactly is a Physio First QAP?

A Physio First QAP is a Physio First member who has input data using our Physio First DfI tool and who distributes a validated PROM to patients and whose data exceeds the baseline as defined by Physio First in collaboration with the University of Brighton.

Why is this data different from that collected by private medical insurers (PMIs) or commercial intermediaries?

Our data is not just numbers. In collaboration with the University of Brighton, we have the objective means of measuring and defining quality because our data is collected using a validated, standardised data collection research tool that has received national and international acclaim.

Once collected, it is all independently analysed before a report on Physio First’s national data bank is published.

Each individual member who has completed the required number of individual patient data sets of patients who have been discharged (currently set at 50) then receives an individual report. Physio First, in collaboration with the University of Brighton, can then benchmark these individual outcomes against the baseline produced from our national data bank. It is this baseline that is the mark of quality, and those of us who score above it can achieve Physio First QAP recognition.

So the difference between the data collected within our Physio First Data for Impact project and the data collected by PMIs or commercial intermediaries is:

  • As Physio First, only we own our data – no one else
  • The baseline will be set through the collaboration of Physio First and the independent University of Brighton using our data
  • This quality kite-mark will be ours to use and sanction as Physio First – again, no one else’s

Is it possible to become a Physio First QAP clinic?

Our Data for Impact project will soon be able to provide clinic reports. To achieve this, all physios in a clinic will have to be Physio First members and collect data through our Data for Impact scheme.

How will the baseline be set?

Our Physio First Research & Development Sub Committee, together with our University of Brighton team, expect our data to show realistic outcome levels following an “equation” of a small number of the outcomes that relate to the questions in our DfI tool. These outcomes are listed below.

Overall though, more participants means a greater data bank, which means a more robust baseline.

We have already established that we have sufficient geographical coverage of current participants to demonstrate that our national data bank is representative of our whole membership – which is fabulous and unique.

Which parts of our analysed data are being considered as the Physio First QAP baseline?

The following areas of our DfI tool are considered to be part of the Physio First QAP baseline “equation”:

  • Goal achievement
  • Outcome of referral
  • Number of treatments
  • FPS (functional, physical and subjective) scores on initial and discharge
  • Time between referral and commencement of treatment and/or duration of symptoms

In addition to these, a validated PROM will need to be used by each Physio First QAP as a PROM provides the independent patient perspective.

Will outcomes continue to be monitored after first achieving Physio First QAP status?

Yes. We are aiming for an elegantly simple process of ensuring that Physio First QAPs constantly meet the baseline. Without this sort of ongoing monitoring, the credibility of our whole scheme would be undermined.

Haven’t we done this before with our previous Physio First Accreditation Scheme?

No. Although a fantastic tool for many members and even ahead of its time, our Clinic Accreditation Scheme concentrated on questions and expectations around service delivery and it was measured, judged and monitored by us with no independent third party.

Our Physio First QAP scheme is about actual outcomes with our patients. As Physio First, we own all of this data and can set our own quality baseline in collaboration with the University of Brighton. We can therefore protect our members from having other criteria forced upon us by any other stakeholder in the marketplace. The data and our Physio First QAPs are defendable due to this independence of analysis.

Will this create a tiered membership within Physio First?

No. There will of course be some of us who choose not to become a Physio First QAP because this sort of scheme doesn’t match their own business model, type of practice, future plans or time of life. In addition, there will be some of us whose data might not quite make the baseline. In this case, we would recognise this through our own individual personal reports as participants in our Data for Impact project.

In this instance, any of us who want to improve our outcomes need only target our CPD accordingly. Our education programme will be there to offer support either by creating bespoke courses or supporting our entire membership to help signpost appropriate courses. Both strategies are well advanced as part of our postgraduate education programme.

Finally, as those of us who need to improve our baseline continue to input data, our individual personal reports will demonstrate our improved outcomes and quality until Physio First QAP recognition can be awarded.

I am a sole practitioner – all my patients are returners or recommended by other patients and are mostly self-paying. Why would I join the scheme?

We are sure that, as private practitioners, we all want to feel confident enough to shout about our quality and ability to prove our worth through our outcomes. The public understand the words “quality assurance” and to be able to market ourselves as such through our Physio First QAP kite-mark will not just feel good, but will future-proof our practices.

What if my practice is non-MSK focused? Can I become a QAP?

Not yet. Our recent Practice Profiling survey demonstrated that more than 90% of Physio First members have MSK as their main specialty. However, in the next phase of our journey, Physio First will investigate how our QAP scheme can be expanded to include other physiotherapy specialisms in private practice.

That said, our other 4 core benefits apply to all members whatever their expertise, so Physio First remains the “go to” organisation for all physios in private practice.

What might an organised network of Physio First QAPs be able to achieve?

We have had a plan in place since 2013 to work towards our Goal 9: the creation of a business entity or business entities that are self-owned by Physio First individual members or clinics, and who can compete in the marketplace with private medical insurers and commercial intermediaries and even expand private practitioner business beyond its current boundaries.

As our Chairman says in her editorial, we now feel confident that Physio First, together with a network (or organised “group”) of Physio First QAPs, can come together legally in one or a number of co-operatives and disrupt the healthcare marketplace to improve the service we private practitioners give to the public. We can protect our autonomy from rules imposed upon us by commercial investors who resell our skills. This can allow private practitioners to share in the commercial reward for engaging directly with the marketplace.

As Physio First we are busy looking at business models for this sort of progression right now. So by the time we have sufficient Physio First QAPs, we will be ready.

If I become a Physio First QAP, do I have to be part of this separate network?

Absolutely not. As with everything, this will be an individual business decision. You may wish to market your Physio First QAP status directly to your patient group. Alternatively, you may wish to join with others for parts of your caseload where you share the risk of entering the marketplace as a profit sharing supplier of physiotherapy and then of course share the rewards of success once trading.

As Physio First, we own the kite-mark, which means that we can stop anyone from using it at any time. This means that we can decide who is allowed to use it, which is important if, having created this fabulous marketplace-disrupting asset, we want to prevent it being hijacked by private medical insurers or other investor owned networks.

Might Physio First work with PMIs using our QAP scheme?

It is possible but not without very specific assurances that we feel we can trust.

There is palpable interest in our plans now, but any organisation that we do business with would have to demonstrate that they can be trusted and are prepared to share in the overall commercial reward.

If, as we fully expect, our Physio First QAP practitioner outcomes demonstrate that direct referral to a Physio First QAP can reduce or remove the need for consultant appointments, then we would expect to share in the commercial advantages that this would create for the insurer.

Overall, we know from both our DfI project and our Practice Profiling survey that more than 80% of our average members’ patients are not insured which means that our target market is the uninsured, self-paying public.

So please watch this space and let’s talk about all of this on our private trusted LinkedIn forum and share our thoughts and support for this fabulous Physio First development.

 

Become a member of Physio First and be amongst the first private practice physios to be awarded our Quality Assured Practitioner kite mark.

 

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