The Do-It-Yourself method is a struggle. Once the DIY project is “finished” is it truly finished?
As I think back to my undergraduate years, one class that seems to have immediate recall was my statistics class. The professor was quite picky with how we learned and completed statistical projects. One initial requirement was showing our work. I had pages of numbers and formulas and “long math.” Completing the projects was long, tedious and detail-focused. I can still feel the relief when a huge project was assigned with a new twist: SAS (statistical analysis software)! It was so magical to input numbers, wait a couple of days and receive a report with all the needed values.
I have similar feelings when it comes to outcomes. Yes, I have done the DIY method. Dang, time flies… I really dove into trying to learn my outcomes 18 years ago. It took me about 16 months to have a working plan in place before I could even begin to collect data. I mean, I had no idea what to even put the data into and had to learn Access. I chose to use the typical condition specific legacy measures (Oswestry Disability Index, Neck Disability Index, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand, and the Lower Extremity Functional Scale). I also included a generic health legacy measure (Physical Function – 10 Item). Talk about the volume of paper that went into my DIY project: paper legacy measures…. paper data collection forms… paper reports. I spent weekends and weekends completing data collection forms. I spent so many weekends entering data. I had to figure out how to analyze the data, but to do that meant I had to create queries which would then dump into Excel which then led to calculations which then lead to creating visual reports.
And now, as I sit and reflect on this experience, what exactly did I learn? I learned that once I started, the data collection, the calculations and the report generation would be never ending. I learned quite a bit at the patient level. I never could quite figure out how to have my calculation process take into consideration older adults versus the younger population… or someone with a chronic problem versus a recent injury… or someone who had surgery versus someone who did not. I learned that I could not compare my results to anyone else in the industry.
Because of “yesterday,” I truly appreciate the Do-It-For-You option. I very much appreciate the FOTO Team and the FOTO Research Advisory Board because they basically solved my calculation problems. I now no longer spend weekends completing data collection forms… I no longer spend weekends entering data into Access. I don’t have to create Excel spreadsheets or visual reports.
In today’s world my simplistic DIY methodology would have failed to provide benefit with third party payers. My DIY methodology actually put me at risk. My outcomes data could not help compare my outcomes with any other clinician. The DIY methodology only provided information at the patient level. The Do-It-For-You option included the all-important risk adjustment process.
Until next time,
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