Impact of Personalized Outcomes Forecasts on Clinical Reasoning of Physical Therapists in Intermittent Claudication: A Vignette Study

Anneroos Sinnige, Joep A.W. Teijink, Steffie Spruijt, Andrew J. Kittelson, Anita Oude Bos, Philip J. Van Der Wees, Thomas J. Hoogeboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Guidelines recommend supervised exercise therapy and lifestyle counseling by a physical therapist as initial treatment for patients with intermittent claudication. However, guidelines provide only a crude estimate of the outcomes that therapists and patients might expect from treatment. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of personalized outcomes forecasts (POFs) on the decision-making process of physical therapists and to learn lessons on facilitating the use of forecasts in daily practice. Methods: A vignette-based, think-Aloud interview study design was used. The participants were physical therapists trained in treating patients with intermittent claudication. Vignettes described fictitious patients diagnosed with intermittent claudication and included POFs. A directed approach was used to code, organize, and describe the data. Transcripts were analyzed using a thematic approach. Results: Sixteen therapists participated in the study. Three themes were identified: (1) setting and contextualizing treatment expectations, (2) setting (shared) goals and (de)motivating the patient, and (3) establishing and monitoring the treatment plan. Therapists mentioned that POFs could be useful for setting expectations and realistic treatment goals, contextualizing expected treatment response, stimulating patients to achieve their goals, and deciding on treatment frequency and treatment timing. Therapists thought POFs would be of less use for changing treatment goals during follow-up visits or for establishing intensity or type of training. Conclusion: To overcome challenges that may arise when adopting POFs in daily practice, adequate training of physical therapists should be conducted. Potential areas to address with training include statistical and data literacy as well as guidance on integrating POFs with existing treatment protocols. Impact: The use of POFs by physical therapists might contribute to a more person-centered care approach. The insights provided by this study on the first use of POFs by physical therapists can serve as an example and lesson on how to optimally implement such supporting tools into daily practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpzac051
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Decision-Making
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Intermittent Claudication
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Prognosis


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