Patient and provider perspectives regarding criteria for patient prioritization in two specialized rehabilitation programs

To increase fairness and equity in access to rehabilitation services, a strategy emerging from the literature is patient prioritization. Selecting explicit prioritization criteria is a complex task because it is important to simultaneously consider the objectives of all stakeholders. The of this study was to compare service users’ and service providers’ perspectives regarding patient prioritization criteria in two rehabilitation programs. We conducted a multiple case study in two rehabilitation programs, i.e., a driving evaluation program and a compression garment manufacturing program. We sent a web-based survey asking two groups (patients and providers) to individually produce a set of criteria, then individual answers were coded and combined in a single set of criteria. Stakeholders identified a total of 32 criteria to prioritize patients. Some criteria, such as age, occupation, functional level, pain, absence of caregiver, and time since referral, were considered important by both stakeholders in both programs. Patients and providers tended to have similar opinions about criteria to prioritize patients in waitlists. Taking into consideration the opinions of all stakeholders concerning prioritization criteria is an important part of the decision-making process.