It is extremely important to measure outcomes of health appropriately and accurately as it helps identify and monitor a patients progress.

Looking at an example where outcomes were measured on an interactive dashboard, we turn to therapy outcome measures (TOMs). TOMs allows a therapist to measure the abilities of a patient in four distinct ways: physical impairment, activity, participation and well-being. Patients are scored against these factors on an 11 point scale, at admission to establish a baseline and at discharge, which is then compared.

The traditional method of collecting TOMs data was for a therapist to manually collect the data and perform very little analysis. Alternatively, other therapists invested in a patient record system (PRS). There were many problems and issues at collection, extraction and analysis stages. Being a manual process it is time consuming and there is always the chance the data entered was inaccurate due to human error. Additionally, those using various PRS could not extract specific data for analysis nor view the data graphically- the system did not have the capability. This was a source of great frustration and annoyance for the healthcare professionals as it was their data which they could access and extract!

The revolution first began with a re-design of the TOMs form. Bear in mind, no alteration of the wording of the questions were made, rather the intention was to make the forms easier to fill out and automate from-removing the manual input element. Re-design was done with front end staff i.e. therapists to ensure it met their needs. On completion of the TOMs forms, DCC automated the extraction of the data from the forms and exported the data sets to an interactive dashboard, performing verification and quality checks along the way to uphold data accuracy. Once the data was on the dashboard, a graphical interface allowed therapists to view their TOMs score in a snap-shot type view as well as allowing them to focus and extract any specific data they may want for analysis and reporting. Adding to this, they could compare and present their TOMs scores with other professionals’ scores, at the same time, question each other and formulating best practice, including the identification of reasons behind common issues. Moreover, the dashboard is simple to use with little technical expertise required.

The solution, implemented at University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research, immediately revolutionised and made processes greatly efficient. Read more about this case study and take a look at our Therapy Outcome Measure Handbook for more information and screenshots of the dashboard.

Of course, this is the case of only a single institution reaping the benefits of automated data capture services and the visualisation of data allowing them to form actionable insights. There are many other institutions and healthcare organisations who are also measuring TOMs and other outcomes in multiple fields such as mental health. Furthermore, the dashboards ability of setting benchmarks and baseline measures means it can also be an effective tool when diagnosing and measuring a patient against a specific scale or criteria.

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