Carolyn L Kinney, Megan C Eikenberry, Stephen F Noll, James Tompkins and Joseph Verheijde
Medical practice has increasingly focused on providing evidence-based interventions. We describe a process to standardize the interdisciplinary assessment of patients presenting for rehabilitation after stroke in a single academic medical center. Multiple assessment tools and outcome measures were reviewed for validity, specificity for stroke population, ease of administration, and utility in research. Interdisciplinary participation in the review process facilitated compliance with new documentation requirements. Measurements were incorporated into the electronic medical record from which an interdisciplinary database was developed for research applications. Clinically, the electronic medical record documentation is accessible to all healthcare providers in our medical system. Objective data from the use of quantifiable outcome measures facilitates clinical decision-making, more appropriate goal setting, and provides opportunities to optimize the value of the care delivered. It creates opportunities for best practices in the rehabilitation of patients with stroke and contributes to the provision of cost-effective patient care. Quantifiable measures also result in improved patient and caregiver understanding of patient impairment and progress, and as we observed, increased patient motivation in therapies. From a research perspective, having an interdisciplinary database in place enhances opportunities for future collaborative and integrated clinical studies. We posit that broad implementation of the care strategy outlined, and the database resulting from it, will also facilitate multicenter clinical research opportunities which will ultimately benefit patients with stroke.