Harmonized Outcome Measure Set Created for Musculoskeletal Care

At the request of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), two software companies in the rehabilitation therapy space have joined forces to develop a single set of unified outcome measures for musculoskeletal (MSK) care.

WebPT, a rehabilitation therapy platform for practice experience management, and Limber Health, a digital health solution that enables the delivery of hybrid musculoskeletal (MSK) care, developed the new set of MSK measures.

WebPT manages legacy industry-standard outcome measures through its Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR), and Limber Health manages computer-adaptive outcome measures from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) through of your QCDR. The companies worked to harmonize sets of quality measures in collaboration with Intermountain Health, Upstream Rehabilitation and ATI Physical Therapy.

WebPT and Limber Health said they are training physicians to choose which outcome measurement tools to report in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) quality payment program, maintaining consistent parameters. This allows CMS to more equitably compare doctors’ results, regardless of the tool used, they said. Additionally, regardless of the platform used, such as WebPT or Limber Health, rehabilitation therapists will be able to compare their performance and outcome instruments in the same way.

“As care has progressed across disciplines, a pressing need has emerged to consistently measure outcomes across settings,” says Susan Lofton, WebPT’s vice president of outcomes and clinical transformation, in a statement. “The industry needed to integrate our rehabilitation industry standard measures with newer measures, such as PROMIS, that are used in different specialized settings to enable better communication and collaboration across the continuum of care. “We partnered with Limber Health to deliver this and are delighted to have taken steps together towards the long-term good of the industry.”

MSK’s new suite of measures is co-managed by WebPT’s MSK and Rehabilitative Care Outcomes QCDR and Limber Health’s Advancing MSK Care and Rehabilitation QCDR. Similar to the previous WebPT measure set, the “IROMS Quality Measures,” the new MSK measure set continues to leverage commonly used patient-reported outcomes measurement (PROM) tools, such as the Numerical Patient Rating Scale. (NPRS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), Rapid Disability of the Shoulder, Arm and Hand (QDASH), Modified Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (MDQ), Lower Extremity Functional Scale ( LEFS) and the Knee Outcomes Survey (KOS), which rehabilitation therapists are familiar with. Additionally, this new MSK measure set also includes the PROMIS measures previously supported through Limber Health’s previous measure set, the LMBR Quality Measures.

“Incorporating PROMIS surveys into our project was a monumental step toward improving patient care,” Julia Goodwin, director of outcomes strategy at Limber Health, said in a statement. “PROMIS enables whole-body health measurement, providing a new way to measure patient progress, alongside traditional injury-specific outcomes. By challenging the status quo and continually looking for ways to improve results collection “Informed by patients, we strive to demonstrate the true value of physical therapy through comprehensive and insightful data.”

The two companies said the MSK suite, approved by CMS for use in 2024, sets a new standard, encouraging physician choice and ensuring fair comparison for CMS, a transformative step toward representation of the industry in value-based care.

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