As clinicians we’re all in the outcome business.
Both our patients and payors are entitled to know that our treatment recommendations are aimed at achieving the best possible outcome through delivering the highest standard of care based on peer-reviewed evidence, best practice guidelines, existing protocols or up-to-date clinical science.
In cases where evidence or best practice guidelines do not exist, an argument could be made that our treatment recommendations should be, at least, able to withstand independent and multidisciplinary peer review, such as “Clinical Rounds”.
While protocols are not necessarily evidence based, they are written by colleagues nonetheless and designed to first and foremost protect patient safety by setting forth a safe and appropriate progressive pathway to achieve the best possible outcome (as determined by the authors). The second goal of protocols is to set forth safe, appropriate and timely clinical interventions (treatments) that may correct, compliment or facilitate the restoration of anatomy (healing) or physiology (rehabilitation) (as determined by the authors).
The authority to individualize any protocol or treatment recommendation always lies with the clinician but in saying so, does not absolve a clinician from their professional responsibility to prioritize patient safety, remain current in their practices and be accountable to independent peer review en route to achieving the best possible outcome for every patient.
The bottom line, patients and payors deserve to know that clinicians are accountable for their actions and recommendations beyond just personal anecdotes, but rather to the latest scientific and clinical knowledge base within the global orthopaedic community. As the old line goes, “the plural of anecote is not data”.
OrthopaedicProtocols.com and PhysicalTherapyProtocols.com were established to help clinicians make the most informed clinical decisions by acting as a updated database of rehabilitation protocols developed by other clinicians around the world.