Selecting outcomes measures in children[apos]s rehabilitation: A comparison of methods
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of using a computerized self-directed software program, All About Outcomes, to facilitate decisions about the most appropriate outcome measures to use in specific pediatric rehabilitation scenarios. DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial using a crossover design to test the accuracy, time, and ease of use of the decision-making outcome software in selecting 3 potential clinical outcome measures for each of 2 clinical scenarios. SETTING: The trial was conducted in a university school of rehabilitation science in Ontario, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty student occupational therapists and physiotherapists enrolled at the university participated in the trial. INTERVENTIONS: Six clinical scenarios were created and paired into 3 sets with similar levels of difficulty. Participants were randomly assigned to select the 3 most appropriate outcome measures for 2 scenarios in 1 of the 3 sets by using the library or the software program. The order of the method of searching was randomized to control for order effect. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Accuracy in identifying appropriate outcome measures, time for the search, ease of searching, and satisfaction with the search process were measured for all participants. Accuracy was rated by 2 independent raters who were unaware of the search method used to identify the outcome measures. RESULTS: In comparison to the library search method, the software search method was significantly more accurate, took less time, and was rated as easier in identifying appropriate outcome measures for the clinical scenarios. Users were also significantly more satisfied with the software searching method. The accuracy of the software method was not affected by whether participants used it first or second. However, the accuracy of the library search method improved if it was used after the software method. CONCLUSIONS: Software improved the accuracy and ease of identifying outcome measures for rehabilitation students. Further research is needed to evaluate whether identifying appropriate measures leads to an increased use of outcome measures in clinical practice.
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