RCSLT Outcomes project

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has embarked on an innovative and ambitious project to support speech and language therapists with delivering and measuring effective outcomes.

The RCSLT Outcomes Project comprises three key workstreams:

  • Phase 1: developing an online tool to support with the collection of outcomes data, using an existing outcome measurement tool that meets ‘best fit’ criteria agreed by members (Therapy Outcome Measures)
  • Phase 2: Identifying the gaps, how to fill them and look at other work to be undertaken

Identifying opportunities to influence national (UK wide) developments to mainstream the RCSLT’s work on outcomes

Phase 1

Identifying the approach


In 2013, RCSLT members devised a list of eleven criteria to identify an existing outcome measurement tool to enable comparable, valid and reliable data to be gathered from across the profession.

Members identified that an outcome measure should be reliable, valid, easy to access and appropriate for use across key client groups.

Over 60 outcome measures, frameworks and systems commonly used by SLTs were appraised against this set of criteria. Therapy Outcome Measures for Rehabilitation Professionals, Second Edition (Enderby, John and Petheram 2006) was selected as the ‘best fit’. The adoption of TOMs by the profession was acknowledged to be an ‘opt-in’ process, enabling members to monitor local performance as well as contributing to a national dataset that could be used for benchmarking and promoting the role and the impact of the profession.

In 2015 the RCSLT Council approved the development of a proof of concept online tool to support collection of TOMs data. In response to the challenges described by members in relation to measuring and reporting outcomes, the RCSLT Online Outcome Tool (ROOT) has been developed to collect and collate TOMs data and generate aggregated data reports.  

RCSLT Online Outcome Tool


The RCSLT Online Outcome Tool (ROOT) is a stand-alone online tool that has been developed to collect, collate and report on outcomes data. Members from adult and paediatric SLT services across the UK have been piloting the ROOT.

Users of the tool can input TOMs data for service users directly into the ROOT, or upload data that has been extracted from databases within existing electronic systems. The ROOT collects data about the individual’s age, gender and diagnoses and TOMs ratings at different points in time.

Clinicians can use the tool to record and monitor outcomes for individual service users and access reports that show change over time in association with SLT interventions.

The ROOT also aggregates data across an SLT service and generates reports. These can be used by service managers to evaluate the outcomes delivered and support them with monitoring outcomes for specific clinical groups and evidencing the impact of SLT. Filters can be applied to the reports to drill down to specific clinical groups at the required level for data analysis and reporting.

An evaluation of the proof of concept pilot was undertaken with SLTs involved in the development and testing of the ROOT, which indicated that the online tool adds value to their work. The findings of the evaluation indicate that using the ROOT to record and report on TOMs data is easy and efficient compared with existing methods in use, and that the reports generated by the ROOT are useful in monitoring the outcomes in association with SLT interventions, both for individual service users and across clinical groups. Members also highlighted the use of the reports in providing information about the impact of speech and language therapy to key stakeholders, and in supporting service planning.

The RCSLT Board of Trustees has considered the findings of the pilot and approved a phased roll-out of the ROOT across the wider profession. The RCSLT will be inviting expressions of interest from members who are considering using the ROOT in their team/service and who meet the criteria for being involved in the initial roll-out. For more information, members should contact ROOT@rcslt.org

Phase 2

In selecting TOMs as the ‘best fit’ outcome measure for Phase 1, it was acknowledged that this was a starting point for the profession’s journey on outcome measurement. Phase 2 of the RCSLT Outcomes Project has been established to consider how to evidence the impact of SLT services where TOMs is not applicable, and to identify how TOMs fits within the context of other resources and frameworks used by SLTs to support service delivery.

A number of scoping activities have taken place to inform the approach to Phase 2, including identifying other available resources and tools that are being used alongside TOMs to support service delivery. Phase 2 is also looking at how to evidence the impact of speech and language therapy services where tools to measure impact are not currently available, including at a public health level and in universal speech and language therapy services.

Further information and resources


To find out more about the RCSLT’s journey with outcome measurement, please contact ROOT@rcslt.org.

RCSLT Outcomes Project Presentations

  • RCSLT Outcomes Project - Presentation, August 2017
  • RCSLT Outcomes Project - PowerPoint presentation: TOMs CONNECT conference 17 November 2016. Overview of the RCSLT’s approach to outcomes and outcome measurement presented by the project team.


References

Enderby P. John A. Petheram B. (2006) Therapy Outcome Measures for Rehabilitation Professionals, Second edition. London: Wiley.

Enderby P. John A. (2015) Therapy Outcomes Measures for Rehabilitation Professionals. Third edition. Guildford: J&R Press Ltd.

Information and resources for RCSLT members


Outcome Measurement in Speech and Language Therapy

National Policy Context

Resources

Get involved

 

Webpages last reviewed: August 2017

 

Third edition now available: Enderby P, John A. (2015) Therapy outcome measures for rehabilitation professionals, Third Edition. Guildford: J&R Press Ltd.





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