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Abstract

This paper reports on the process of developing a low-cost initiative for therapists to assist in the collection and evaluation of information on outcome of care, using a selection of standard health outcome measures. An episode of care approach has been taken, in which repeated measures of outcome can be collected whenever the patient presents for treatment for a specific condition. The MS Access-based software is available for download free of charge on the website of the Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia (CAHE Outcomes Calculator). The calculator currently incorporates common measures of outcome for musculoskeletal problems, focusing mainly on spinal conditions. These measures have well established psychometric properties, readily understood metrics, available baselines and community norms, and established clinical and research utility. Change in outcome is reported graphically, and also using raw scores and percentage change from baseline. An accompanying manual provides background reference material, the formulae used in the calculator for determining change, and an example of each instrument for use in the clinical setting. Feedback from therapists around the world who have downloaded the calculator to date indicate that it is practical, simple and has assisted them to evaluate their practice.

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