Many of our colleagues are taking a beating from audits of their practice. Some of these audits have motivations that are not even directly related to individual patients and their care. Their driving force is money, but as practitioners, we are paid professionals, and financial controls, whether implemented well or not, are a fact of life for us.
So we prepare ourselves. The good news is that the best of us can get better with our preparation. We all trained in a similar way and were probably barely able to practice when we left our training. But, with support of senior clinicians, we gained experience and with it confidence. Confidence led to more independence and maybe a little laziness. As soon as we are convinced that we know what we are doing, it gets harder to change what is “working” for us.
We know that objective information and complete documentation about the patient are critical to support our clinical decisions. But to document well is not about just filling in boxes of potential audit flags and to keep doing what works, but rather, it requires deep understanding. I believe that as a profession we have arrived at a crossroads long anticipated. The audit situations just point out that being confident within ourselves is no longer sufficient. If you have not already done so, it is time to renew your professional commitment to lifelong learning.
And all of this brings us to the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics (JPO). The JPO remains one of the very best media for constantly reconsidering our individual knowledge base. Read, consider carefully, challenge your own understanding with the viewpoint of another, and contribute your voice to these pages, and by doing so, we can all be better prepared to document and support our clinical decisions with evidence-based practice.
David A. Boone, CP, MPH, PhD
Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics