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Media Release

June 13 2007

Allied health care – how can we tell if it’s working?

Free lecture looks at allied health servicesPhysiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy, audiology, psychology, speech pathology, radiography – they are all services in the health care mix, but how do we know these treatments are effective?

Understanding the evidence base for allied health treatments and how that may impact on patients receiving the best care possible, is the focus of the second Body of Knowledge free public lecture today (June 13) at 6.30 pm at UniSA’s City East campus.

With 20 years experience as a physiotherapist, UniSA Professor Karen Grimmer-Somers is the Director of the Centre for Allied Health Evidence where she leads a team dedicated to research into improving allied health teaching and clinical practice.

Professor Grimmer-Somers will outline the difficulties in applying traditional medical measurement models to determine the effectiveness of allied health services.

“Allied health services are diverse in nature, in the settings in which they are delivered, and the part they play in a wider treatment program,” Prof Grimmer-Somers says.

“Because of these complexities research undertaken into the effectiveness of allied health services needs to ensure that outcomes are measured in ways that engage all stakeholders. So if a worker is receiving OT treatment to recover from an injury, success may be measured in several ways – quantitatively by the amount of days before they can return to useful employment and the costs savings associated with that or qualitatively by the sense of well being the worker finds in the steady improvement a treatment program provides.

“The challenge for allied health clinicians is to find the best sources of evidence that suit their practices and their patients and to develop these so the evidence has as little bias as possible and is as relevant as possible to the end users.

“Allied health needs to celebrate its flexibility, its diversity and effectiveness and its impact on health care. To do that we need to become comfortable with a new evidence paradigm that draws the best from a range of sources.”

You can register online  for the UniSA Body of Knowledge lecture Where’s the Evidence for Allied Health Care which will be held in the Basil Hetzel Building, Mutual Community Lecture Theatre at City East campus, Frome Road, Adelaide.


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