Patient values: the forgotten pillar of evidence-based practice

Evidence-based medicine is a driving force in the profession of physiotherapy and is based on three pillars: research evidence, clinical experience and patient values. The last of these is often neglected.

04.06.2024, 4.30pm–5.30pm – online or on-site (Schwarztorstrasse 48, Room 020)


  • Start date 04.06.2024, 4.30pm–5.30pm
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  • Place online or on-site (Schwarztorstrasse 48, Room 020)
  • Status The guest lecture will be given in English.
  • Costs free

Evidence-based medicine plays a crucial role in physiotherapy and is based on three fundamental pillars.

  • The first pillar relates to the best research results available, which are frequently discussed at conferences and in specialist literature.
  • The second pillar relates to clinical experience, which is likewise regarded as valuable.
  • The third pillar, which takes into account the values and wishes of patients, is often unfortunately neglected.

What would patients tell us if we asked them what was most important to them? What can we as physiotherapists do to encourage patients’ trust and well-being? To lay the foundation for a successful therapeutic relationship, it is hugely important to include and understand the patient’s perspective.

In this guest lecture, we will look more closely at this neglected pillar. We will consider non-verbal and verbal communication strategies that aim to promote positive outcomes for patients. These strategies not only guide our actions as physiotherapists, but also enable us to constantly evaluate the patient’s reactions to our strategies. In this way, we can determine whether they are effective or whether adjustments are needed in order to ensure the best possible care.

William («Bill») Boissonnault

The speaker William (‘Bill’) Boissonnault is an emeritus professor of the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of seminal articles on the subject of screening in physiotherapy. For decades he screened and treated outpatients in the US through direct access, i.e. without a medical referral. Today Bill Boissonnault advises the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as Executive Vice President of Professional Affairs. As an editor he has been at the helm of publications such as the two reference books Primary Care for the Physical Therapist: Examination and Triage and Pathology: Implications for the Physical Therapist (both published by Elsevier Saunders, 1st and 2nd edition).

At BFH, Bill Boissonnault will lead the P4P course ‘Screening in physiotherapy’ on 4 and 5 June 2024, and will bring his extensive experience of direct access in physiotherapy into this course.


Michel Probst

Prof. em. William Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAAOMPT, FAPTA, University of Wisconsin

Note on the talk

The guest lecture will be given in English.