We need objective data to gauge treatment effectiveness and patient improvement. They need to be valid and reliable. So lets consider one that is valid and reliable and used often, the Neck Disability Index or NDI. I use it and I advocate for its use in my teaching. 10 sections: pain, personal care, lifting, reading, headaches, concentration, work, driving, sleep and recreations. Sounds pretty good to me. But what if your patient’s goal is to walk their dog or ride their mountain bike for two hours without pain? Severely limits the NDI’s clinical utility.

What if patients made their own outcomes. We could ask them the five most important things they want to get out of PT, allow them to write them each with a ten point scale (for easy math) and then allow them to track the changes. These personal outcome measures may not be, technically speaking, valid and reliable, but they would certainly seem to improve shared decision making and adherence to treatment. Don’t you think?

Maybe our patients should tell us what they need and expect and we should deliver those results. Personalize Outcomes…is there an app for that, yet?

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