Incorporating a New Technology for Patient Education

Incorporating a New Technology for Patient Education

Eric T. Wanner, Jennifer Lynne Bird
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch011
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This chapter explains the design of a survey that provides a new technology for physical therapy clinicians to use while treating patients. The new survey uses both numerical subjective and written subjective questions; the questions dovetail knowledge from the fields of writing and medicine to provide a resource for patient education. Encouraging a patient to write how he or she feels throughout the physical therapy process can increase the clinician's awareness, allowing for the modification of treatment when needed to achieve elite results for the patient. Reading a patient's writing also helps the clinician become more aware of whether the patient has a positive or negative outlook throughout the recovery process. The patient's development and maintenance of a positive outlook becomes a goal of the clinician. From this survey, the authors learned patients with a higher positive outlook throughout treatment sessions demonstrated greater healing gains in existing objective physical therapy measures.
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Initial Discoveries

What if we told you that filling out a survey while writing down goals has the potential to help you heal faster in physical therapy? Would you do it? The authors of this chapter created a survey that uses writing to assist the healing process. The survey features both numerical subjective questions, where patients are asked to rate how they feel by circling a number, and written subjective questions, where patients are asked to respond to a prompt by providing a short written answer. The writing prompts are scored using a rubric similar to the rubrics used by writing teachers when evaluating students’ papers.

In designing our research and implementing our survey, we wanted to answer the question if there was a relationship between a patient’s positive outlook when writing down his or her feelings and the patient’s recovery process. As of this writing our research remains ongoing and we plan to study this topic further, but our initial study revealed that patients who used more positive language when responding to short answer writing prompts on the survey we designed showed higher objective improvements on existing physical therapy measurements such as the DASH (Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder Hand), LEFS (Lower Extremity Functional Scale), NDI (Neck Disability Index), and Modified Oswestry (for back pain). We hope that after more studies strengthening the validity and reliability of the survey, it will become a new technology medical practitioners can add to their tool kit of patient education resources.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multigenre Writing: Discussed in the field of education by Tom Romano, a multigenre paper consists of two parts: creative writing in multiple genres and the writer’s analysis of the genres.

Heart Maps: Discussed in the field of writing by Georgia Heard, heart maps ask writers to draw a heart and inside the heart write things that the writer loves.

Physical Therapy Outcome Measures: Tests used by physical therapists to measure the progress a patient makes, such as such as the DASH (Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder Hand), LEFS (Lower Extremity Functional Scale), NDI (Neck Disability Index), and Modified Oswestry (for back pain).

Before, During, and After (B-D-A) Lessons: A lesson planning framework in the field of teacher education discussed by Richard and Jo Anne Vacca and used by teachers to evaluate student learning before, during, and after the reading of a text.

Artistic and Technical Writing: Artistic writing focuses on the writer’s tone of word choice, also known as voice, while technical writing focuses on the writer’s specificity of word choice. English teachers often design rubrics that incorporate both artistic and technical writing when evaluating student essays.

Wanner-Bird Healing Survey for Pain Recovery: An original survey designed by Dr. Eric Wanner and Dr. Jennifer Bird. It features a combination of numerical subjective questions where patients are asked to respond to statements by circling a number from 1-5 and written subjective questions that evaluates patients on a rubric with a score of 1, 3, or 5 incorporating the technical and artistic dimensions of writing.

Writing Voice: Voice in writing describes how a writer uses word choice and tone to compose a journal entry or other written composition that reflects the personality of the writer.

Neck Pain Journal: Jen created a journal of how her neck was feeling and what she was doing when her neck felt pain. Eric read the journal and diagnosed what Jen needed to do to make her neck feel better.

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