What are wound care outcomes?
While traditional wound healing clinical trials rely on measuring physiological endpoints, such as measurement of target ulcer, outcomes research represents a group of specialized methodologies designed to assess the effect of interventions on endpoints that are tangible to patients, including health-related quality of life, functional status, patient satisfaction, cost, quality of care, practice standards/patterns, and patient perspectives on new technology. Many wounds represent chronic disease states associated with significant morbidity and resource costs. It is thus crucial for consumers of the wound care literature to be literate in methods of outcome measurement, in particular, measures of clinical efficacy, health-related quality of life, and health economics. Validity, reliability, and responsiveness are concepts readers may use to critically appraise the value of published outcome instruments. This article presents an overview of outcomes in wound care, with the goal of highlighting the importance of outcomes research and of providing readers with skills to better utilize outcomes data to inform their clinical practice.
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