Patient Perceptions Regarding Quality of Care and the Patient Experience in a Student-Led Pro-Bono Clinic


To examine patient perceptions regarding quality of care and the patient experience in a student-led pro-bono clinic using the MedRisk Instrument for Measuring Patient Satisfaction (MRPS). The MRPS is validated in the United States health care system for outpatient physical therapy (PT) settings. After performing an in depth literature review, no studies were found that used the MRPS to evaluate student-led pro bono or private practice PT clinics. There is also a lack of evidence comparing the two types of clinics.


The study design is an Independent Samples Mann-Whitney U Test. Thirty-four participants completed the survey, with twenty-six from the pro-bono PT clinic and eight from the private practice PT clinic. Participants completed two surveys after at least one month or four visits PT. They consented to treatment and were given a coded number which was used to record their results and maintain anonymity. Surveys were given at discharge or over the telephone by the researchers. Surveys consisted of the MPRS with physical therapy survey and three open ended questions created by the authors.


The paired T-tests analyzing age and gender were found to be normally distributed. Patient satisfaction and experiences in the student-led pro bono PT clinic were assessed and the results of the surveys were also compared to the private practice PT clinic survey results. In the comparison of the two clinics, one question was found to have a significant difference in the responses. Patient satisfaction overall was comparable between the two clinics with all other eleven questions as shown by an insignificant p-value displayed. Student-led pro bono PT clinic results indicate that the registration process, waiting room and follow up with patient care provided by students could be the most improved when compared to the private practice PT clinic survey results.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

Student-led pro bono clinics are a valuable learning environment that provide experiences for students to demonstrate leadership while advocating and serving a population of patients who are without insurance coverage for PT treatments. Using evidence collected from a validated tool students or clinicians can assess the patient experience in the student-led pro bono clinics and make improvements to the operation of the clinic. In this study patients rated their experience at the student-led pro bono PT PT clinic very highly and the patient experience was comparable for the pro-bono PT clinic and the private practice PT clinic. Suggestions for improvement in the student-led pro bono clinic included having someone to welcome patients, having a sign-in sheet, and addressing student physical therapist accountability of patients by scheduling students so the patients see one familiar PT student each session. Further research on the patient experience in student-led pro bono PT clinics should be performed using the same outcome tool (MRPS).


Lawrence D, Bryant TK, Nobel TB, Dolansky MA, Singh MK. A comparative evaluation of patient satisfaction outcomes in an interprofessional student-run free clinic. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2015; 29(5): 445-450.

Finding quality doctors: How Americans evaluate provider quality in the United States. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Survey conducted May 27, 2014-June 18, 2014.

Wilson A. Integrated clinical experiences in a campus onsite clinic: a self-contained model of physical therapy clinical education. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2014 Jul 01; 12(3): Article 8.

Hush J M, Cameron K, Mackey M. Patient satisfaction with musculoskeletal physical therapy care: a systematic review. Phys Ther.2011;91:25-36.

Beattie P, Turner C, Dowda M, Michener L, Nelson R. The medrisk instrument for measuring patient satisfaction with physical therapy care: a psychometric analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther; 2005 Jan; 35(1): 24-32.

MedRisk Instrument for Measuring Patient Satisfaction with Physical Therapy Survey. Copyright 2008, MedRisk Inc. Permission obtained February 2, 2016.

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  • Control #: 2740038
  • Type: Posters
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Jody Eckert
  • Keywords:

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