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The gut reaction of many PTs and PTAs who read the title of this article is going to be, "Of course I give high-quality care." For others, it may elicit uncomfortable questions. To be clear, it’s far from the intent of this article to put readers on offense or make them feel defensive.

Physical therapy is a powerful means to help people live healthier and more fulfilled lives, and our profession is filled with people providing excellent care. With that said, I hope to get you thinking critically about how to identify when you’re providing high-quality care.

Measuring quality of care can be challenging. Practices and insurance companies have attempted to quantify quality through specific measures that include cancellation rates, online reviews, self-discharge rates, referrals, outcome measures, and satisfaction scores.

Unfortunately, these measures bring their share of issues. Some variables are outside of our control. For example, clinics in areas where many people are of lower socioeconomic status and depend on Medicaid, or where there are transportation issues, likely will have higher cancellation rates. And clinics in rural areas where health literacy is low likely will have greater variability in outcome measures.

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