How Patients Benefit From Measuring Outcomes
When going to a health care appointment, there is one thing many of us dread (including me): paperwork. It seems never ending… is it really necessary to know about my grandparent’s health history? The longer I work in healthcare, the more I realize how important most of this information is.
A newer part of the initial “paperwork” process in physical therapy is using a tool known as an outcome measure. At OSI, our outcome measure is a computerized survey that you, the patient, will fill out known as FOTO (Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes). This survey is a series of questions that determines how the injury or condition is affecting your daily functional activities. While, at first, it may seem like more paperwork and time, utilizing outcome measures is extremely important to ensure the best care is being provided to each patient.
FOTO’s greatest benefit is tracking progress in an objective manner. Depending on how you answer the questions, FOTO will generate a number to identify how you are functioning. You will take the survey on your first day, and again at a later appointment. Based upon how the surveys are answered each time, a “change score” will be calculated. The change score allows you and the therapist to track whether improvements are being made or not. This ensures that if progress in functional activity is not being made, a different plan of care can be discussed and determined between the physical therapist and the patient.
FOTO also has a nice feature where you can input specific limitations for why you are seeking out physical therapy. For example, you are referred due to knee pain. However, you are mostly concerned with the fact that you are limited with performing stairs. In this case, you would write down stairs as an activity limitation. This helps the physical therapist tailor the plan of treatment to better meet your needs.
These are two of the main things I have found that benefits patients from the use of outcome measures (FOTO). Hope this helps to give you a better understanding of FOTO, and why it is such a big part of the physical therapy and rehabilitation process.
Thanks for reading!