Majority of PTs Don't Use Standardized Outcome Measures ...Why not?

Reference:Jette DU, et al Use of standardized outcome measures in physical therapist practice: perceptions and applications. Phys Ther. 2009 Feb;89(2):125-35.

Imagine if a study showed that a majority of MDs did not use any standardized outcome measures such as pulse, blood pressure, ECGs, lab work for triglyceride, thyroid, etc.?

How would MDs know what is wrong with the patient?
How would they know if the patient is improving or worsening? Could they simply base changes on observation, ‘gut feeling’, and subjective reporting from the patient?
Of course not, that would be absurd!

As much as MDs focus on, measure and care about improving lab results, ECGs, BPs etc, as PTs we need to focus on and care about improving function and somehow measure it!

This study looked at practice patterns of PTs in the USA and showed that 48% of us used at least one standardized outcome measure, which means the majority of PTs did not …which begs the question, why not?

Standardized outcome measure questionnaires such as Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), Neck Disability Index (NDI), DASH, etc. are regularly used in PT research studies for measuring functional progress, …why doesn?t the average clinician use them?

The most common reasons for not using them were…

1) It takes too long for patients to do them, especially in a busy clinical setting

2) It takes too long to analyze the data after the patient has completed them (adding up numbers)

3) Some patients have difficulty completing them independently due to reading or language barriers

I fully appreciate the above-mentioned reasons, so I recommend all busy PTs to use the PSA. The Patient Specific Activities (PSA) measure involves only 3 questions.

Go to “Clinical Articles” and click on: “Goals, Function and Pain Evaluation Score Sheet”

You may download, print and use it and no longer be part of the 52% of PTs who don’t measure if their patients are actually getting better!

The study found that more than 90% of the PTs who used some form of outcome measure believed that it improved communication with their patients, improved their patient care, and found that it actually motivated their patients.

Posted on: March 23, 2013

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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