Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Proving our worth

image by AHook
I do believe that the main driver in health care is financial rather than best practice and decisions are based on the 'available evidence' and that's where our problem as OTs starts.

Where is the large body of evidence to show how effective OT practice is? Where are the facts and figures that help to support our argument for the need for OT?
(since posting this, we have had a couple of comments that give some links to articles and search engines that may be useful, click in comments at the end of this post and have a look)

An ex-student has recently email the team with regards to this very point. She is trying to persuade local GPs that they need her service and of course they want her to produce facts and figures that demonstrates to them how viable (in several ways) this would be for them. I absolutely agree with them for doing this, why should they part with money and bet on an 'outsider', but where could we begin to prove our point? The student has emailed us and I'm at a loss so I thought I would ask the much wider community.


willwade said...

Interesting question Kirsty.

What kind of area is the data required? You mention GP's are the one's she is trying to sell the service to so that's pretty far reaching but I'm guessing that its Primary care we are needing data on this occasion.

GP's like figures. (In particular GP's like money (in more ways than one)). Now we all know that hard, reliable scientific drug-trial-like studies are not in their abundance. The answer could be looking at cost-effectiveness : Community occupational therapy for older patients with dementia and their care givers: cost effectiveness study (It's in the BMJ - they will love that). Another study that springs to mind which reads like OT is the saviour of mankind is the well-elderly study. Although a little old now, there have been a few papers off the back of it - one of which:
Cost-Effectiveness of Preventive Occupational Therapy for Independent-Living Older Adults

Follow the trail of references off both and Im sure it will help formulate some ideas to put forward to the GP's. The other thing I can only suggest is to make the evidence. Audit the work out there being done and present it :)

Anonymous said...

Has she tried OT Seeker (she'll need to google it)... may be either a CAT or systematic review in there that could help her.

Angela said...

Thanks for your suggestions - these look really useful. We'll make sure they get passed onto her. Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Actually I don't think there is much to demonstrate either cost-effectiveness or outcome effectiveness for occupational therapy interventions. It's sad but true that because most occupational therapists are keen to use qualitative analysis rather than quantitative, because many students don't learn scientific methods, and because statistics seem to frighten them, among other reasons, there just are not many studies to draw on.
It's one of my bones of contention that as occupational therapists want to spend time on developing theory specific to occupational therapy, they are missing out on the opportunity to spend time looking at outcome. Loads of research justifies the theory behind behaviour change and motivation within psychology, so I'm not sure why occupational therapists would spend time defending the 'uniqueness' of occupation when they could instead be researching whether, having applied some intervention, it actually makes a measureable difference.

Servant of said...

Have you seen this: http://www.cot.org.uk/members/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=16150#16150 ?


Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone. The OT in question has been made aware of your feedback.