The Power of Functional Assessments

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Chiropractor Adjusting PatientAs doctors of chiropractic we are becoming ever more aware of the increasing demand from third parties to objectify and document our patient’s status in order to justify care.  We understand that these agencies are interested in us demonstrating that progress is being made and that the visits we are requesting are absolutely necessary. While we don’t want to overcharge or overextend our services, we also don’t want to under treat or improperly manage our patient’s care either.

From our training we realize that pain and provocative tests related to inflammation caused by a trauma will normally subside during the first 2 weeks of care and what remains after the acute stage of injury are functional losses due to immobilization, tissue damage and disuse that need to be rehabilitated in order to improve performance. Sadly many of us were not taught functional testing procedures while we were in school that would help us record these deficiencies and prescribe a treatment plan designed to address them.

Luckily, Dr. Steve Yeomans has done much of that work for us.  Based on a literature review and clinical evaluation, Dr. Yeomans compiled a series of 23 physical performance test that have been shown to be safe, reliable, valid, and practical that can be used for gathering data as well as for prescriptive purposes in our offices.  He has labeled the tests the Quantitative Functional Capacity Evaluation or QFCE for short and has been promoting it over the past 15 years.

The QFCE can be performed when the patients are still having discomfort but provocative tests no longer substantiate the problem.  It forms an objective baseline for the patient’s physical performance that can be repeated during the course of active care and follow up.  The tests measure aspects of performance such as strength, flexibility, posture, endurance and balance which are true indicators of progress versus pain and symptoms.

These tests are meant to complement the other portions of your exam and serve as solid documentation of the progress and benefits you are providing for your patients.  This information can be used to:

  1. Support “medical necessity”
  2. Enhance patient education
  3. Improve reimbursement
  4. Gain credibility with other professionals

Due to the value and practicality of this protocol I have added the QFCE exam to the macro set within ChiroTouch this way doctors can begin to gather the information without having to set it up in the system.  For more information on how to perform the examination and how to use it prescriptively, contact Dr. Yeomans at 920-748-3644.

Dr. Meinhofer is a customer sales representative for Integrated Practice Solutions, the makers of the ChiroTouch Chiropratic Software; a complete practice management software system designed to make your job easier and your patients’ experience better..