Outcome measurement in speech and language therapy: a digital journey

BMJ Health Care Inform. 2020 May;27(1):e100085. doi: 10.1136/bmjhci-2019-100085.


Background: Evidencing the impact of speech and language therapy interventions is challenging. The UK's professional body for speech and language therapists (SLTs) is supporting a consistent approach to outcome measurement and analysis using Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMs).

Objective: To develop a digital solution for collecting TOMs data, evaluate the impact of therapeutic interventions and explore contributing factors to outcome variation across clinical areas.

Method: Agile methodology was applied to software development. Organisations were recruited to provide data. Criteria were identified to exemplify outcome variability.

Results: A digital tool was developed. 21 organisations provided data on 16 356 individuals. Improvement in at least one domain of TOMs occurred in 77.1% of instances. Data for two clinical areas exemplify the tool's effectiveness in highlighting the impact of speech and language therapy.

Conclusion: This established outcomes data set can be used to evaluate the impact of speech and language therapy, and explore variation in outcomes.

Keywords: health care; information management; information systems.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / standards
  • Health Information Management*
  • Humans
  • Language Therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Professional Practice
  • Software*
  • Speech Therapy*
  • United Kingdom