Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Physical Therapy; Total Quality Management


Total quality management (TQM), a management system first successfully utilized in the manufacturing industry, has gained much popularity in the healthcare industry over the past few years. Books, articles, conferences, workshops, and video tapes that teach health care executives how to utilize TQM in their organizations abound. Unfortunately, resources which specifically apply the TQM philosophy and tools to the practice of physical therapy are few. The purpose of this project is to provide a resource that introduces the philosophy, methods, and tools of TQM with applications to the physical therapy setting.

Chapter one briefly discusses the general history of TQM in manufacturing and health care and also provides an introductory definition of TQM. Chapter two elaborates on several of the primary principles of TQM and notes potential applications of these principles in physical therapy practice. Chapter three discusses the fundamental differences between the traditional approach to quality management in physical therapy, Quality Assurance (QA), and TQM. Chapter four introduces a practical, step-by-step model called FOCUS-PDCA and discusses how physical therapists can apply this model to the physical therapy setting. Chapter five describes several TQM tools and provides examples which illustrate how these tools can be applied to physical therapy practice. Finally, a list of healthcare-related and non-healthcare-related TQM resources is provided for persons wishing to engage in a more in-depth study of TQM.