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Abstract

Over the past years, it has become more common in Dutch hospitals to outsource allied healthcare services to the private sector. This development has affected hospital-based physical therapy significantly. And as a result, there is an increasing need for guidance in this new situation. In response to this, the Dutch Association of Physical Therapy in Hospitals (NVZF) conducted a comprehensive study into the process of outsourcing with the objective to inform and advise physical therapy services in hospitals about outsourcing developments. Eight Dutch hospitals where physical therapy services had been outsourced or where this option was explored, were interviewed. The EFQM-Model (European Foundation for Quality Management – Excellence Model) was used to examine the outsourcing process. This provided the following insights into the outsourcing process of physical therapy in Dutch hospitals: (a) three motives of the board of a hospital to outsource the department of physical therapy and three factors influencing whether outsourcing will occur, (b) four different organizational structures of physical therapy services, two of which reflect outsourced services and (c) nine critical factors to be considered by hospital-based physical therapy services when outsourcing occurs. The results of the research were summarized in a Dutch guideline consisting of three parts named “Identifying Motives for Outsourcing and the Probability of Outsourcing”, “Organizing according to the Right to Exist”, and “Development Goals for the Future using the Critical Factors from the Research Results”.

Author Bio(s)

Rudi A. Steenbruggen, PT, MBA, is manager of the allied health services in the Isala Clinics (Zwolle - Netherlands) He is also a freelance teacher in research methodology at the Master of Specialized Physical Therapy (Avans+, Breda - Netherlands) and board member of the Dutch Association of Physical Therapy in Hospitals.

Hannah Boven, MSc, is health scientist and owner of Boven Consultancy (Driebergen - Netherlands)

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