Sophisticated economic modelling shows the net benefit of physiotherapy

Sophisticated economic modelling shows the net benefit of physiotherapy


The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is the peak body for physiotherapists in Australia.

The APA wanted to assess the economic value of physiotherapy

The APA wanted to measure the economic value of physiotherapy to demonstrate its importance to policy makers and the broader public. The APA was seeking an independent study accessible to a wide audience and underpinned by robust economic analysis and research.

Nous developed a methodology for establishing costs and benefits

In undertaking the health economics analysis, Nous started by identifying 11 common conditions for which physiotherapy was a suitable intervention, informed by peer-reviewed literature and the APA’s subject matter experts.

For each condition, we developed an economic model that captured the benefits and costs.

The APA commissioned Nous Group to undertake an analysis of the value of a range of physiotherapy interventions. Their landmark report has, for the first time, built a robust picture of our high-level impacts and the value this provides to the health care sector.

Simon Tatz 

General Manager Policy & Government Relations, Australian Physiotherapy Association

The report found that physiotherapy provides value to Australians, at all stages of life, and in response to many different life events. Further, it established that physiotherapy can deliver value to both the individual and to the healthcare system more broadly and that physiotherapists can further enhance the value they deliver by continuing to innovate.

Our research found that physiotherapy delivers an average net-benefit for a range of life events and stages. The final analysis showed that individuals and health care systems in many cases receive a net benefit in the thousands of dollars for each intervention to treat a diverse range of conditions – from cerebral palsy in children through to osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.

The report is being used to support advocacy efforts

Our results were presented in a report, “Value of Physiotherapy in Australia”, as well as in an interactive dashboard that Nous built in R Shiny. The Nous design team also partnered with the APA to create posters capturing the results for use by the APA and its members.

The APA CEO said the report, launched in March 2021, had a robust evidence base and translated complex ideas into an accessible format. The APA is now using the report to demonstrate the impact of physiotherapy to government and other stakeholders.

What you can learn from the APA

  • Good economic analysis requires a robust assessment of costs and benefits using peer-reviewed literature and experts consultation.
  • Online tools such as an R Shiny dashboard are useful for helping stakeholders explore data.
  • Communications products such as posters and videos can allow complex economic data to be more easily understood.