Evidence-based practice is an established guiding principle in most medical and health care disciplines. Central to establishing evidence-based practice is the assessment of clinical outcomes. Clinical outcomes represent a form of evidence on which to base medical decisions, as well as providing the mechanism for assessing the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions. However, clinical outcomes are not routinely assessed in sport rehabilitation. If sport rehabilitation clinicians fail to incorporate clinical outcomes assessment and, as a result, evidence into daily practice, they may be missing an opportunity to improve patient care and putting their professional reputation at risk within the medical community. The purposes of the article are to highlight the emergence of clinical outcomes assessment in the medical community and the current health care system, illustrate the role of clinical outcomes assessment as it pertains to providing the best patient care, and identify challenges that could potentially impede the implementation of outcomes assessment in sport rehabilitation.
Evans is with the Athletic Training Division, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA. Lam is with the Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ.