Measuring what we do in a time of information overload

 

We head into spring 2020, and it’s heartening to see how the APA continues to reorganise and reset in this ever-changing landscape. 

COVID-19 continues to challenge us as individuals and across families, teams, organisations, villages, states and countries.

Alongside this, the APA continues to pursue the best available information to propel our strategy.

Using information strategically to better respond to our consumers’ needs remains key to our profession thriving and surviving.

Measuring people’s experiences of healthcare services are more important than ever.

For the APA, this ranges from capturing information about how consumers experience physiotherapy, about our healthcare workforce wellbeing, and about APA member engagement.

It might feel that we are in a time of information and measurement overload.

Media and anecdotes are running parallel with scientific rigour during COVID-19. As physiotherapists, we understand there is no better way to improve healthcare than by listening to what people have to say.

There is a positive association between measuring patient experience and health outcomes. So how do we wrangle all of the health information out there as a consumer, physiotherapist and APA member?

As a young Board member and a new mum, I find myself searching for more and more information in all facets of life. Having a baby in July in New South Wales, I’ve recently toiled with the most reliable sources for health information in a whole new way.

Where do I go to choose a physio for a women’s health assessment? What’s a good website to refresh my memory on those talipes exercises;? How do I give feedback on my recent maternity unit inpatient experience?

At the same time, as an APA Board member, I am searching and using health information to evaluate where we should take APA strategy into next year.

What consumer feedback and membership indicators should we pay attention to in this uncertain world, to make strategic decisions into next year and beyond?

Most reassuringly, we’ve got the APA in a sound place, measuring all we can to steer the profession forward. The Board has championed initiatives to listen to our consumers, physiotherapists, and thrive in the COVID-19 era. APA staff are working diligently.

From a consumer perspective, our evaluation of telehealth joint project funded through the Physiotherapy Research Foundation (PRF) with the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, and Flinders University is evaluating the efficacy and acceptance of telehealth during rapid implementation for COVID-19.

Preliminary results are positive, with a mean outcome measure of >8 (out of 10) across most areas. 

We have a project with Nous to measure the economic value of physiotherapy, including a dashboard to quantify value to continue strong messaging in the health system.

Further, the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee has now granted approval for our Patient Reported Outcome Measures data pilot to go ahead. Fifty-eight expressions of interest are being engaged to transition to go live.

From a membership perspective, we’re measuring aplenty. Our online learning strategy is our highest priority to ensure a global, scalable service that provides member value. We monitor rich information about the professional development our members want and use.

Pleasingly, as we monitor membership, 2020 take-up has continued to grow and remains slightly ahead of expectations compared to 2019 figures. Based on this information, we are putting together solid membership structures and fees for 2021.

APA staff are still running COVID-19 impact member surveys, so we are also better understanding the longitudinal impacts on physiotherapy businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our physiotherapist traits of a thirst for solid evidence, robust data and advancing the profession are well suited to this measurement context. We’ll keep on seeing the opportunities in the crises, and measuring Choose Physio.

The Board values your fresh thinking on how the APA and our profession can continue to measure people’s experiences, now more important than ever.

 

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