APTA's effort to get member opinions on potentially unnecessary physical therapy tests and procedures is off to a strong start, but the association is looking for as much input as possible as it considers joining a national campaign to educate consumers on making informed health care choices. Physical therapists (PTs) have until April 4 to forward suggestions via an online form.
As part of its Integrity in Practice initiative, APTA is exploring the possibility of participating in the "Choosing Wisely" program, a national American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation-sponsored project that provides the public with lists of health care tests and procedures that may be unnecessary under certain circumstances. Consumer Reports is partnering with ABIM to promote the campaign and helped to create a video describing the effort, which was also featured in the March 2014 edition of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) newsletter.
The association is on the lookout for any PT-controlled procedure that tends to be done frequently or carry a significant cost, yet whose usefulness is called into question by evidence. APTA will convene an expert panel to review and rate all member submissions and create a list of approximately 10 potential items that will be narrowed down to 5 by way of an all-member survey. The top 5 questioned procedures will then go to the APTA Board of Directors for final approval. Nearly 60 suggestions have been received so far.
If approved for use by the ABIM Foundation, APTA's "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question" would join similar lists (.pdf) provided by organizations including the American Geriatrics Society, the North American Spine Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Procedures called into question by these and other organizations include routine imaging of certain patients with inflammatory arthritis, recommending more than 48 hours of bed rest for patients with low back pain, and screening of adolescents for scoliosis.
APTA’s version of "5 Things" would become a component in the association's large-scale initiative to highlight physical therapy's role in eliminating fraud and abuse in health care. The effort is the subject of a feature article (members-only access) in the February issue of PT in Motion.
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