EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Pediatric Hand Therapists' Experiences with Outcomes Measurement: An Interpretive Descriptive Study


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

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Background: Demonstrating that pediatric hand therapy patients are achieving improved functional and health status outcomes is critical as reimbursement for therapy services shifts to value-based reimbursement. Yet, practice patterns of outcomes assessment in pediatric hand therapy are unknown.

Purpose: Explore how pediatric hand therapists describe their experience measuring treatment outcomes and using patient reported outcome measures (PROMs). Secondarily, to elucidate what therapists perceive children and adolescents receiving hand therapy desire as treatment outcomes.

Study design: Interpretive descriptive qualitative study METHODS: Pediatric hand therapists were recruited through an email invitation sent to members of the Pediatric Hand Study Group to participate in one-on-one interviews over a teleconference link. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded to derive themes. Data collection and analysis were iterative.

Results: Ten therapists with a median 13 years (range, 2-25 years) of experience practicing in pediatric hand therapy completed interviews. Overall, participants reported using 52 unique outcomes measures, including 20 PROMs. The following themes were elucidated: (1) Complexity and variability in pediatric hand therapy practice and outcomes assessment; (2) Barriers to PROM use; (3) Value of PROM utilization; (4) Desired characteristics of an optimal PROM for pediatric hand therapy.

Conclusion: Practice with outcomes assessment is variable. PROM utilization in pediatric hand therapy practice may be improved with the development of a PROM that is aligned with the pediatric population's outcomes priorities.

Journal Title

Journal of Hand Therapy