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New report proves physiotherapy offers both health and economic benefits to Australians

New report shows physiotherapy offers both health
Photo: New report shows physiotherapy offers both health and economic benefits to Austr....
Olympian Jessica Trengove has launched a ground-breaking new report, that provides irrefutable evidence of both the cost effectiveness and enhanced quality of life, delivered by physiotherapy interventions.

The Value of Physiotherapy, released by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, delivers a comprehensive, independent analysis, demonstrating the economic benefits that physiotherapy provides to patients, as well as the Australian healthcare system.

The landmark report analyses the impact of physiotherapy on 11 common conditions, including stress, urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tennis elbow, orthopaedic outpatient services, emergency department services, chronic neck pain, osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, back pain, and falls prevention.
APA National President, Scott Willis, said the prevalence of these conditions varied, however each was chosen as a focus for the report as they reflected the relevance of physiotherapy across patient demographics and stages of life, as well as across the breadth of professional practice.

“The report results show that all physiotherapy treatments investigated were clinically effective and delivered net economic benefits, with improvements in the quality of life experienced by patients exceeded by the net cost of the treatment,” he said.

“The fact that a wide variety of treatments were found to deliver a net-benefit also suggests that physiotherapy can be beneficial for many patients in different stages of life, or experiencing different life events.”

For example, easing the burden of disabilities in children, recovering from sports or workplace injuries, or ensuring a healthy retirement.

The critical role that physiotherapy has played in the treatment and recovery of COVID-19 patients, also illustrates how research and innovation can identify new ways for physiotherapy to deliver value.

“Including through further research into whether physiotherapy can be used effectively to treat new clinical indications or applied in a broader range of clinical settings.

“The benefit delivered by physiotherapists could also be expanded, for example by through the use of Telehealth services for regional and remote communities.”

While there has been ample evidence over the years of the health benefits provided by physiotherapy, this report is ground-breaking in that it also demonstrates cost effectiveness.

That means physiotherapy interventions are both clinically effective and deliver net economic benefits, with quality of life improvements exceeding treatment costs.

“Physiotherapy treatment results in enhanced quality of life, such as reduced pain, increased mobility, reduced burden of disease and longer life expectancy, and avoided future costs of healthcare.

“Avoided costs attributable to physiotherapy result in savings to multiple funding sources including private insurers, state and federal compensable schemes and state and federal healthcare systems. Physiotherapy is also a valuable and cost-effective alternative to other more costly interventions, such as surgery for osteoarthritis, and as a complementary therapy for pre and post-surgery interventions.

Mr Willis said physiotherapists had known for a long time the impact that physiotherapy can have on a patient.

“This report solidifies that, and has built a robust picture of our high-level impacts and the value physiotherapy provides to the health care sector.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.