The Value of Physiotherapy

Value. It’s a word that we’re all very familiar with. The oxford dictionary defines value as ‘the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something’. For many of us, the usefulness or value of what we do or buy is important. And so, it should be – we devote time, money, effort and thought to many things each and every day. Buying groceries, professional development and education, buying a new car, getting that best cup of coffee and health matters all have value attached to them. We would like to expect that our investment in these things (time, money, effort, thought) results in a benefit for our efforts. And so, it is the same with physiotherapy. As a patient faced with an injury, experiencing pain, planning to undergo surgery or simply wanting to improve physical function; it is totally reasonable and expected to ask the question “what is the importance, worth or usefulness of physiotherapy?”

The Australian Physiotherapy Association recently commissioned an external company, ‘Nous’ to investigate the value of Physiotherapy in Australia. They chose to examine the costs and benefits of physiotherapy intervention in eleven different situations that involved physiotherapy care.

Costs were calculated to include fees for consultations and other rehabilitation sessions, the price of equipment and also the opportunity cost of patient time (ie. If a patient wasn’t at physio they potentially could have been working and earning money). They also determined the costs of any avoided care that a patient would have likely needed had they not engaged with physiotherapy. Benefits were calculated by investigating improvements to patient length or quality of life. Using some complex statistics and information from the Australian Government, these benefits were given a monetary value. By subtracting the costs from the benefits, the report was able to determine a ‘net benefit’ amount per episode of care. The results are amazing!

Here are a few of the results. The net benefit of physiotherapy care in low back pain was $6063. Physiotherapy involvement in the management of knee and hip OA gave patients a net benefit of $3772 per episode of care. A $3416 benefit was found for Chronic Neck Pain. Physio management of stress urinary incontinence yielded a massive $16 814 net benefit! Essentially this means that by participating in a course of physiotherapy treatment for low back pain, a patient ends up being $6063 ahead of where they would have been had they not!

Here at Up and Active, we believe that the value of our physiotherapy and exercise physiology services far exceed monetary value. Our team is driven to help patients achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Regardless of whether your goal is to improve pain, manage a chronic health condition, to feel steadier on your feet, chase after your grandkids, walk the Kokoda or run a marathon; we believe that physiotherapy is useful. We believe it is worth it, and it is important. And now, thanks to this report, we have hard evidence to support what we’ve always believed. Physiotherapy has high value.