There is no doubt the rehabilitation industry is being transformed. Yes, we all feel the impact of stricter enforcement of regulations, guidelines and clinical expectations for practice and compliance. These changes, while significant, may not come close to the pressures of increased transparency and reporting of quality and performance. Soon, mandatory reporting of quality and performance will appear online and surveyed by the public in the attempt to improve the ability to make better decisions about the care they need.
Social media and the Internet afford instantaneous communication across a broad constituency of interested parties for rapid reply to questions or concerns. These same media afford the exposure of faults and shortcomings. Questions asked target the state of a provider’s rehabilitation practices. These media are the information super highways driven by novice and expert alike.
This is an incredible resource. In order to take full advantage of this intelligence, users need to learn how to ask better questions and resist the urge to find the quick solution to their need to know. Users will need to learn how to discriminate data quality. There must be a perception that the right elements are being measured in the right ways, and that apples and oranges are not being confused with each other. There needs to be trust in the quality of the information required.
The challenge of implementing clinical intelligence systems will be daunting and learning is required by the provider and the patient for effective use. Asking questions along the way will provide evidence that learning is occurring and the transformation is sustainable.