Prosthetists' perceptions and use of outcome measures in clinical practice: Long-term effects of focused continuing education

Prosthet Orthot Int. 2017 Jun;41(3):266-273. doi: 10.1177/0309364616664152. Epub 2016 Sep 16.


Background: Continuing education is intended to facilitate clinicians' skills and knowledge in areas of practice, such as administration and interpretation of outcome measures.

Objective: To evaluate the long-term effect of continuing education on prosthetists' confidence in administering outcome measures and their perceptions of outcomes measurement in clinical practice.

Design: Pretest-posttest survey methods.

Methods: A total of 66 prosthetists were surveyed before, immediately after, and 2 years after outcomes measurement education and training. Prosthetists were grouped as routine or non-routine outcome measures users, based on experience reported prior to training.

Results: On average, prosthetists were just as confident administering measures 1-2 years after continuing education as they were immediately after continuing education. In all, 20% of prosthetists, initially classified as non-routine users, were subsequently classified as routine users at follow-up. Routine and non-routine users' opinions differed on whether outcome measures contributed to efficient patient evaluations (79.3% and 32.4%, respectively). Both routine and non-routine users reported challenges integrating outcome measures into normal clinical routines (20.7% and 45.9%, respectively).

Conclusion: Continuing education had a long-term impact on prosthetists' confidence in administering outcome measures and may influence their clinical practices. However, remaining barriers to using standardized measures need to be addressed to keep practitioners current with evolving practice expectations. Clinical relevance Continuing education (CE) had a significant long-term impact on prosthetists' confidence in administering outcome measures and influenced their clinical practices. In all, approximately 20% of prosthetists, who previously were non-routine outcome measure users, became routine users after CE. There remains a need to develop strategies to integrate outcome measurement into routine clinical practice.

Keywords: Allied health occupations; attitudes; education; follow-up studies; health knowledge; practice; professional education; prosthetics; qualitative methods; study design; surveys and questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education*
  • Allied Health Personnel / psychology
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Continuing*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors