Screening protocols are similar to study protocols, specifying what combination of measures need to be gathered during which phase. Age-based, outcome-based or visit-based, screening protocols support clinical and reporting needs. A universal protocol is the result of combining the underlying required screening protocols. Apps do the work of figuring out the universal protocol. All staff has to do is pull up the client and go. There is always valuable patient input that can be gathered.
Age-Based Screening Protocols
Practices often refer to their patient population as cradle to grave. Screening requirements typically get matched to well-child checks for 0 to 5 and school age children. Adult and geriatric checks are typically annual, or simply the next visit if more than a year. Development is generally the focus in the 0 to 5 age range. Underlying behavioral and mental health issues are the usually the focus for the older age ranges.
Outcomes-Based Screening Protocols
Whether tracking acute or chronic treatment, or simply monitoring process change, outcomes are organized by episodes. The simplest measure of outcome is to compare the first and last (pre and post) measurements to see if there is a statistically significant change. Tracking measures over the course of the episode and comparing to normative recovery curve data provides information about whether the treatment is on track and can be used to tell when Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) has been reached.
Visit-Based Screening Protocol
Add demographic, quality, safety, satisfaction and other questions as needed to meet reporting needs. Basic demographic information can be gathered once at the initial visit. Other types of data want to be monitored on an on-going basis to track performance and spot issues early rather than later. There is no extra cost to gather and use this type of information.
A universal protocol, combining age-based, outcome-based and visit-based screening protocols, is a powerful tool. While it looks more complex, it actually simplifies the screening process. The apps do the work of pulling the previous information and applying the protocols to figure what measures need to be queued up for each client. Staff can optionally adjusts which measures are being administered before handing off the tablet, but the hard work is already done for them.