FOTO Rehab Outcomes Blog

FOTO and Functional Outcome-based Registry

Written by Selena Horner | Sep 2, 2015 2:45:00 PM

Currently I am aware of two outcomes registries for physical therapists (or physiotherapists). 

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) has led the way in functional outcomes. I remember when I was a new graduate and just learning about outcome measures. (My recollection may be totally incorrect because memories are not the most accurate.) What I recall is, wow... Canadians are leaders in this area. It seemed most of the researchers were based in Canada. Fast forward to now. The CPA has been diligent in continuing its pursuit in the area of functional outcomes. Their focus is changing - probably because the world is changing. CPA is supporting CPA members in two ways: 1) financial support in using FOTO as the premiere electronic outcomes management system and 2) learning the value of services provided by Canadian physiotherapists. I certainly look forward to what is found as CPA begins to have opportunity to analyze the data. What I appreciate about CPA's endeavor is consistency. I believe they will have strong data at their fingertips: data that has consistent science based risk-adjustments that have passed peer review over the years and data based on consistent known measurement tools. Their participating members will also appreciate the report features within FOTO. Not only will CPA participating members be helping their association, they will also be provided with information to help them manage and improve their clinical performance.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) isn't what I view as a leader in functional outcomes. From my perspective, the APTA has moved into this realm due to the need to learn the value physical therapists bring to the medical world. I believe this could be a good thing. Right now, typical outcome studies have a high focus on claims data as the source for analysis. It's good to know there is at least one organization foused on bringing the concept of quality into the picture. The APTA has created a Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry. This registry will be different from CPA. One striking difference is the cost difference. APTA is not financially supporting members in this endeavor. To help the APTA gain data, each participating member will pay about $500/year to contribute their data. Another striking difference is the data itself. Measurement data will not be via consistent measures. I do think it is great to know that members using FOTO may electronically contribute their data. It seems to me APTA will need to do quite a bit of reinventing the wheel so to speak. It won't be easy to somehow equalize the various measurement tools and their scores. Minimal clinically important differences will need to be accounted for in order to capture relevant change. Risk adjustment will be required to happen in order to truly equalize patients. Personally, I wish more information was provided at their registry site to better understand these highly important details that need to be included for any comparisons with aggregated data.

Bottom line, APTA wants data. Knowing what I know about the FOTO Team, I'm confident FOTO is happy to be able to assist those of you interested in providing your data to APTA. I'm also willing to bet FOTO will make it as painless as possible for you - probably via magical integration. I honestly don't know. What I do know, the FOTO Team are software tech ninjas. 

By the way, please realize blog posts are opinions. Blog posts don't go through some review process. When I write, I focus on taking my honest thoughts out of my head and sharing them for the three people who read my posts. Yes, I love what CPA is doing and  yes... I'm cautious in my delightedness with APTA's venture. 

Until next time,