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Do clinicians need to be accurate when measuring ROM?

By Insights One Comment

Marc Ashton, CEO, Dynamic Body Technology

Does objectivity and accuracy matter for clinicians? In the process of rolling out 3D Joint ROM to the market, this has been an interesting question that clinicians have turned back on us and one that I believe should be debated.

The premise behind the 3D Joint ROM tool is that it allows clinicians to accurately measure Range of Motion (ROM) in multiple planes in real-time and provide an objective recording of patient range.

When presenting to clinicians, the question has been asked: “Why do we need objective recordings of ROM? Why can I not simply use my clinical experience to judge improvement or decline?”

As a solutions provider with an interest in accuracy and objectivity, this was an interesting rebuttal. While much has been made about the impact of technology on the healthcare sector and concerns that the subjective skill and analysis are being discounted, we believe we have a couple of comments on this:

Medico-Legal

A recent installation we did for a podiatrist in South Africa highlighted the importance of objective data when referring a patient. An issue raised by this clinician is that orthopedic surgeons were disregarding subjective opinion and opting to operate despite the patient being within range guidelines.

As patients and consumers are using technology to help educate themselves around their treatments, they are going to interrogate the advice (and associated costs) provided by clinicians. Objective and accurate data will lead to higher quality referrals and treatment plans.

Tracking the pain point

At what exact moment does a patient feel pain during a movement? If you can diagnose the pain point, you can save significant recovery time by focusing on the right outcomes rather than struggling to replicate the movement.

Outcomes-based healthcare

When running a business, it is easy to work out whether you are achieving an outcome: If your income exceeds your expenses, you are heading in the right direction. As a clinician, it’s less black and white and there is significant pressure on clinicians to demonstrate their outcome in an accurate and objective manner.

Clinicians are increasingly reporting that there is a focus on outcomes – particularly from the sports science fraternity – patients no longer just want to hear that “Range or mobility has improved” – they want to know to what degree it has improved as a result of your treatment.

Gaming an outcome

When it comes to treatment and rehabilitation, patient motivation is a major factor and one that many clinicians will battle with. How do I motivate my patient to hit their rehabilitation goals?

By showing a patient real-time data of their movement, they can have an accurate measure of exactly how much further they have improved and aspire to hit their rehabilitation goals. Data that is provided in real-time can add a gaming element to rehabilitation.

Conclusion:

When doing some research for this post, I typed into Google “How important is accuracy in Range of Motion measurement” as a search phrase (combination of words not complete search phrase) and ended up with 39.2 million links on the internet. There is clearly a lot of interest in the topic.

Where I think we need to be careful is this narrative that objective technology replaces the need for subjective insights from qualified medical professionals. Technology should be there to support the clinician not replace them or discount their skills.

We at Dynamic Body Technology would love to get insights from clinicians around the importance of accuracy and objectivity when it comes to medical data. Please feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a line on marca@3djointrom.com