Why are there so many forms at my doctor’s appointment?
Doesn’t it sometimes seem like you spend most of your time at an appointment filling out forms? You may be lucky enough if your physician’s office emails you forms to fill out online prior to your appointment; however, they still can be very time-consuming.
You may be wondering: Why do I need to do this and what’s all of this information for?
Let’s start at the beginning. We, as medical professionals, need to understand how the things we do affect you- both physically and mentally. Part of this process is through discussions and interactions with you at each appointment. The other part is collecting patient outcomes through forms.
What are patient outcomes?
Patient outcomes are tools that measure the effect of disease and treatment(s) and how they affect your daily life. They have been around for more than 30 years and are regularly tested and retested to prove that they are dependable.
Every form you complete is part of your medical record. Sometimes researchers or physicians may review these forms to see if there are any patterns that can be identified.
Why do patient outcomes matter?
In the beginning patient outcomes were used by researchers or insurance companies; however, their focus was not always on patient care improvement.
As research reporting advanced, health care providers started to see a shift in the ability of all those forms to change the way patients are treated, how they communicate with their doctors and to help them make better decisions in their own health care.
How is OrthoIndy involved?
The physicians at OrthoIndy have led the way in advancing orthopedic procedures and treatments for all types of joint, spine and muscle injuries. Some of the things we do now are the result of forms patients have filled out.
Examples from our practice
- OrthoIndy total joint surgeon, Dr. Frank Kolisek no longer prescribes post-operative physical therapy for most of his total knee replacement patients because of an outcome study conducted in the late 1990s and later published in the “Journal of Arthroplasty.”
- Formal physical therapy can be extremely costly, not only as a medical charge but also in time spent away from home, arranging transportation, etc. When Dr. Kolisek noticed patients did just as well with at-home strengthening exercises as with formal therapy he launched the study. The results showed both economic and scientific benefits of at-home exercises such as cost savings for patients because of fewer office visits and physical therapy appointments.
- OrthoIndy trauma surgeons, located at St.Vincent Indianapolis Level I Trauma Center are currently looking at patients who have had hemiarthroplasties after a broken hip. A hemiarthroplasty is when the ball of the hip is replaced and not the socket like in a total hip replacement.
- During the follow-up visits, we collect information to see if these appointments are always necessary. There may come a day when patients are not required to make as many follow-up appointments unless they notice a problem.
- Furthermore, we are looking at the need for X-rays during any follow-up appointment. This could result in cost savings to the patient and insurance companies, meaning fewer visits and less radiation exposure for the patient as well.
What’s the bottom line?
Research and collecting patient outcomes are the best way to see how treatments have worked with the large number of patients we see at OrthoIndy. When discussing treatment options, a great question to ask your health care provider is about outcomes.
- What has research shown?
- Do I really need this or is there another alternative?
- What results have you seen in your patients?
Thank you for completing the outcome forms and continuing to help us to provide better care to all of our patients. For more information about the Orthopaedic Research Foundation visit OrthopaedicResearchFoundation.com.
Schedule an appointment
Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.