Design: Survey research.
Subjects: A total of 176 patients with mechanical neck pain, surveyed about their physical therapy experience.
Method: A questionnaire was constructed on the selection of exercises, instructions for carrying them out and follow-up provided by the physical therapist. The same items reported by the surveyed patients were also reviewed in the physical therapy record. We analysed the reliability and validity of the questionnaire, and used the valid information from the survey to estimate a total of 8 indicators on the quality of care provided.
Results: Sensitivity of the items was high (>75%), suggesting that most of the recorded information could be provided by patients, and specificity was quite low, suggesting that they also provide relevant information that was not recorded. These results, particularly low specificity, were not homogeneous among items. Estimates for the indicators demonstrate room for improvement.
Conclusion: Patient reports could be useful as a complement to other sources of information for physical therapy quality assessment, and they can be reliable and valid substitutes for recorded data about specific aspects of the care provided.