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FOTO Data Request for Research Purposes

The FOTO database contains vast amounts of clinical patient data from thousands of clinics in rehabilitation and other healthcare settings contributed by tens of thousands of clinicians practicing in all 50 states. FOTO offers investigators an opportunity to examine this rich and robust patient dataset for research purposes. External validation of FOTO’s data is supported by over 100 published peer review articles examining either the psychometric properties of FOTO’s functional status measures or patient outcomes. Click here to view Research Citations for FOTO Database.

While FOTO allows access to the data at no cost, external researchers must seek permission to access, examine, and publish FOTO data as well as acknowledge specific research and FOTO data responsibilities by following the process described below under How to Request Data for Research Purposes.

Understanding FOTO Data

The primary objective of the FOTO system is to efficiently collect precise and psychometrically strong measures of patient reported functional status outcomes. Using Item Response Theory methods, computer adaptive testing serves to minimize patient and clinic burden.  Data collection consists of patients responding to computer-administered demographic and functional status questions at intake (prior to first treatment) and status (progress points and discharge).

Patient episodes in the FOTO system are categorized first by care type, then by body part and/or impairment.  

FOTO’s primary functional status measures are mandatory for all patients. Additionally, an extensive library of psychometrically-sound optional measures may be selected by the clinician/clinic to complement the clinical assessment. For example a clinician may want to use a psychosocial measure to help assess fear avoidance (e.g., FABQ) or depressive symptoms (e.g., SCL-90R subscale or PHQ-2) data during the patient’s intake and status FOTO assessments.  Data from both the mandatory and optional measures are available to potential research investigators.  Addendum B indicates all variables which are mandatory vs. those variables which are optional.  Sample sizes from optional measures may be limited. 

 What is in the FOTO Database?  See Measures and Counts

How to Request Data for Research Purpose(s)

External investigators or FOTO customers who are interested in obtaining and analyzing FOTO data for research purposes must follow the following steps. Failure to follow these steps will either delay your data request application or result in rejection.

Step 1.  Initial contact with Mark Werneke PT, MS, Dip. MDT ( mwerneke@fotoinc.com ) to briefly discuss the PI’s research project and to indicate what FOTO data are of interest. Of importance, each data item(s) and the data years being requested in Research Data Request document must be clearly justified and adequately supported in the Abstract section of Research Project Proposal document. 

Step 2.  After completing Step 1, submit the following documents to Mark Werneke at ( mwerneke@fotoinc.com ):

a.  Signed Master Research Data Use Agreement. This agreement details the specific responsibilities which the principle investigator and all coinvestigators agree to.Only the principle investigator, as the representative of all coinvestigators, is required to sign this document. The signed agreement document is a contract solely between the principle investigator and co-investigators and FOTO for the specific project, aims, and data detailed in Research Project. Proposal For Use of FOTO Data and Research Data Request documents. The data must not be shared with colleagues outside of the co-investigators identified. The FOTO data must not be used for additional research projects not outlined in Research Project Proposal For Use of FOTO Data document.  Failure to follow all of the researcher’s responsibilities outlined in this agreement document will result in denial of future FOTO data requests. 

b.  Signed Research Project Proposal document.

c.  Research Data Request document.

d.  IRB documents, if applicable, submitted to the institute’s IRB office

e.  IRB approval letter (An IRB approval will be required before FOTO data can be released.) The large majority of research projects examining FOTO data are retrospective and are exempt from IRB. However an IRB letter indicating exempt status is still required. 

Step 3.  The data request will be reviewed by members in the FOTO Research Advisory Board (FRAB) if needed. This review process may take up to 1 month to complete.

Step 4.  After completing Steps 1-3, if there are no concerns, the data request will be forwarded to Deanna Hayes (FOTO’s Coordinator of Internal Research and Development) for processing into FOTO’s programming schedule. Please remember data requests are processed at no cost to the researcher; however, FOTO’s programming development agenda is extensive and time frame for researchers to receive data will vary between 1 to several months. In addition, the timeframe to receive data will vary depending on the number of data requests being processed.

Step 5.  The researcher, Deanna Hayes, and Mark Werneke will be notified when the data merging is completed and subsequently forwarded to the researcher