Utilisation of standardised outcomes measures by clinical Physiotherapists working in Namibia: a nationwide cross-sectional study

Matthew Chiwaridzo1*, Tonderai Washington Shumba1, Farirai Kamba1, Etheline Olivia Geurtze1, Christiane von der Heiden2

  1. University of Namibia, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Occupational
    Therapy and Physiotherapy, Windhoek, Namibia
  2. University of Free State, Centre for Graduate Support, Bloemfontein, South Africa
    *Corresponding Author: Matthew Chiwaridzo; E-mail: mchiwaridzo@unam.na


The utilisation of standardised outcome measures (SOMs) is crucial for evaluating patients’ health status. Physiotherapists are highly recommended to use SOMs routinely. Despite the well-documented benefits of using SOMs, the utilisation of SOMs in clinical practice is still problematic particularly in Africa. In Namibia, there is dearth of information about SOMs utilisation by physiotherapists and the associated factors. This study was aimed at determining the extent of routine utilisation of SOMs and the associated demographic and work-related factors among physiotherapists.
A cross-sectional, nationwide, online survey was conducted and all registered qualified physiotherapists and intern physiotherapists working in public or private hospitals/clinics were invited to participate. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 29.0. The Chi-square (χ2) and Fishers exact test investigated the relationship between the associated factors and routine SOMs utilisation. The alpha level was set at 0.05.
Of 230 participants who received the invitational link, 99 (43.0%) responded timeously to the call to participate. Although 97.9% (n=94) of the participants indicated having used at least one type of SOMs in the last six months, the frequency of utilisation varied. Routine utilisation, defined as 70%-100% of the time, was reported in only 49.0% of the participants. The Chi-square test only showed significant findings for gender (p=0.01) and clinical specialty (p=0.004). The odds of utilising SOMs were 4.13 greater among physiotherapists with a clinical specialty and 3.88 times greater for females than males.
The rates for routine utilisation of SOMs by Namibian physiotherapists are unfavourable. Female gender and clinical specialty influenced the utilisation of SOMs in daily clinical practice. Cognisant of the study limitations, these results call for the need to improve the routine utilisation of the SOMs in Namibia.

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