Navigating the Road Less Traveled
By Jay Irrgang, PT, PhD, ATC, FAPTA
In her blog post, "The Road Less Traveled," APTA President Sharon Dunn PT, PhD, OCS, highlights the looming shift in payment from volume (do more, get paid more) to payment based on value. To navigate this new road, PTs need to understand what "value" is and how it is measured.
Put simply: "Value" can be boiled down to the relationship between the benefit of care and the costs of services associated with providing that care.
Assessing value requires measuring outcomes (benefit of care) that are important to patients and figuring out the true costs of associated services-and doing so in ways that allow for fair comparisons between therapists and organizations. Physical therapists have a long history of measuring outcomes, but like many providers we have lacked systems that enable us to efficiently use outcomes data to demonstrate and improve value.
To address this need, APTA is making a substantial investment to develop the Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry (Registry). The Registry will collect clinical outcomes data from participating physical therapists and provider organizations that ultimately will enable them to determine the value of the care they provide and to benchmark their performance against the performance of others. The Registry's design will allow for integration with existing and emerging electronic health record (EHR) systems, outcome measurement systems, and practice management platforms. Participating in the Registry will provide physical therapists and the organizations or practices they work for with a powerful and efficient tool to measure and improve the quality and value of care.
To provide scientific direction for the Registry and ensure that it meets its goals to inform payment, improve practice, fulfill quality-reporting requirements, and promote research, the APTA Board of Directors appointed me the Registry's scientific director. To oversee and ensure the scientific integrity of the Registry, I selected 8 individuals to serve on the Scientific Advisory Panel. The panel comprises members with a range of experience related to measurement of patient-centered outcomes across a spectrum of practice settings, and, as the scientific director, I'm excited for the work ahead of us as we introduce the Registry to the physical therapy profession
Nearly 200 physical therapist users now are participating in a pilot program to test the Registry, and efforts are under way to electronically migrate data from EHRs into the system. We hope to fully launch the project late this year, providing physical therapists 1 more tool as our profession heads down the road of value-based care. Check out more information related to the Registry at www.PTOutcomes.com.