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Referrals: A comparison of hospital outpatient and private outpatient physical therapy clinics in Oregon

22 May 1994


The purpose of this study was to determine the current patterns of referrals received by Oregon physical therapists, whether there was a significant difference between types of referrals received by hospital outpatient and private outpatient clinics, and whether a significant pattern exists between the types of referrals and their referring source. A total of nineteen outpatient clinics participated in this study, eight of which were hospital outpatient clinics and eleven of which were private outpatient clinics. We reviewed referrals from 1,477 randomly selected charts of patients who initiated treatment between the dates of January 1 through March 31, 1993. The data recorded included type of facility, type of referral, and referring source. The data was analyzed using the chi-squared test with alpha set at .05 and comparing percentages. The findings indicated that 49.29 % of the referrals sampled were non-prescriptive. There was a significant difference (chi-squared = 72.72, df = 24, p = .0001) in the pattern of referrals between referring sources and a significant pattern (chi-squared = 18.44, df = 4, p = .001) between the types of referrals received at the hospital versus private outpatient clinics. Although our data analysis indicated that significant differences occurred in the patterns of referrals recorded, we cannot identify conclusively where these differences occurred. Further studies may be beneficial to identify patterns of referrals and the influence of direct access on these pattern.


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