Complex Rehab Technology and Outcomes-Based Healthcare

Published in Complex Rehab on June 10, 2022

Greg PackerBy Greg Packer, President, U.S. Rehab

The Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) industry, along with many others in the DME space, is moving to an outcomes-based or performance-based system versus the fee-for-service system we have been in for decades. We have seen that the fee-for service system does not work, and it has failed the patients and the providers, as well as stymied the development manufacturers are capable of. 

This new system will enhance the patient experience and help those who provide service and delivery of CRT equipment create an accurate picture of their performance.

Determining Outcomes Objectives

Before we can shift to an outcomes-based system, we need to examine: What are the objectives of CRT outcomes? At U.S. Rehab, we believe we should aim to develop a patient registry related to wheeled mobility and seating device interventions and accumulate large datasets for clinical quality assurance. That said, there should also be guidelines for the registry development to apply and anchor the data with a uniform tool. U.S. Rehab has put its support and dollars behind the Functional Mobility Assessment (FMA).

About the FMA:

The FMA is a validated, 10-question patient-centered outcomes measurement tool that investigates satisfaction in performing common mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs). It was developed under a corporate research agreement between clinical researchers and commercial providers. Questionnaires are administered in rehabilitation clinics to patients at the time of assessment for new device interventions (baseline) and readministered by telephone or other remote strategies periodically thereafter (follow-up). 

Collecting the Data

U.S. Rehab collaborates with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and we use the FMA with our members to collect data and measure the performance of interventions. We now have over 12,000 datasets in our active registry. The paper presenting our findings has been published in the official journal of RESNA.

Data drawn from the FMA also provides evidence that quality equipment—appropriately provided by certified ATPs, PTs, and OTs— increases positive outcomes and higher patient satisfaction in their ability to perform MRADLs.

This quality assurance project systematically describes the population of people with disabilities who need and use mobility assistive equipment (MAE). It also assesses the outcomes post-provision of properly provided equipment. All of this is made possible through the FMA and uniform dataset (UDS).

Measuring Performance

By analyzing the 12,000 cases of people with disabilities who use MAE, we now see a clear picture of the positive role quality equipment and well-trained professionals play in patients’ lives. Through this analysis, we have seen: 

  • An increase of 128.31% in patient satisfaction in performing MRADLs  
  • 64.32% decrease in reported falls
  • 71.3% reduction in readmissions due to a seating and mobility incident 
  • 57.38% reduction in skin breakdown 

Getting Started

It is through this scientific analysis that the university has, through de-identified data, been able to determine with high correlation that outcomesbased care is here to stay in CRT. Please ask your VGM/U.S. Rehab representative how to get involved. The train is leaving the station—make sure you have your ticket, and you are on it.

VGM Playbook Growing Your Business With Data and TechnologyThis article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Growing Your Business With Data and Technology. To read more articles like this, download your copy of the playbook today


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  1. complex rehab
  2. outcomes

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