Measuring the outcome of therapy within healthcare is important. It helps identify trends and patterns within a patient’s progress and provides insight into what works well for a patient’s recovery and what not so well.
Outcomes of therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, physiotherapy, rehabilitation- essentially a patient’s recovery from any sort of ailment must be measured so a healthcare professional can provide personalised and effective care but also build a platform where best practices in any kind of therapy can be shared and applied in a wholesale manner.
We bring to your attention the example of Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMs), developed by Professor Pam Enderby at the University of Sheffield. Professor Enderby has developed the TOMs tool in order to measure a patient’s recovery throughout therapy. In its simplest form, a patient is scored on four factors: physical impairment, activity, participation and well-being. Each tenet is measured on an 11 point scale. More recently, different varieties have been developed to cater for different types of therapy, reaching to almost 50.
A major issue Professor Enderby was facing is that there was no unified measure of managing the data that was collected through TOMs. Therapists would collect the data on paper and store it without any further analysis. Alternatively, others kept the data in a patient reporting system (PRS). An issue with this was the inability to extract data from the system when it was required and in cases where extraction was possible, there was a significant cost implication or the data would be received in the wrong format.
Understandably, this was quite a stumbling block. Here they had vast amounts of beneficial therapy outcomes data that had the potential to be used to improve services for patients, but were unable to do so.
Professor Enderby got into contact with DCC and we made a few changes in order to make the process of capturing and analysing the TOMs data seamless.
Firstly, we re-designed the TOMs form so that it was easy to complete for therapists and record the TOMs data in a legibly. Design of the form is very important. If the form is poorly designed, the data collected on it will reflect the same and the best system or analytical package will not be able to churn out the relevant insights needed.
Secondly, once the data was recorded on the TOMs form, we captured the data from it. Traditionally, a therapist (or any healthcare professional), may spend considerable time typing out data from a form such as TOMs into a database or Excel spreadsheet. A manual data entry process such as this is time consuming and can lead to errors in data captured. We streamlined this process by scanning each of the TOMs forms and automatically capturing the data from each field, creating a direct export of the raw data. This saved countless hours and weeks of manual data entry and allowed therapists to have access to their data in a much timelier manner.
Lastly, we imported this data into a therapy outcomes dashboard which facilitates a platform of collaboration and best-practice establishment. Specifically, therapists have the opportunity to compare and contrast TOMs scores for therapy in the same condition amongst one another and thus develop optimum treatment methods and identify the variables that positively and negatively affect a patients’ score.
In conclusion, the creation of a robust therapy outcomes data management methodology empowers a healthcare professional to provide greater standards of care to service users, reduce emergency admissions and, most importantly, equips the service user to continue to manage their own care at home by providing them with the relevant advice and guidance.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or if you’d like to see a live outcomes dashboard, we are more than happy share.