Clinical Outcomes Research

The purpose of clinical outcomes research is to share research focused on the meaningful use of patient- and clinician-rated outcomes measured in clinical practice. The research may be written from several perspectives including a patient population, through the lens of a singular outcome tool, as a comparison of tools, or outcomes of an entire clinic before and after the introduction of an intervention. The research should emphasize the utility of specific clinical outcomes in practice. This research may also be written from the perspective of improving the work life of health care providers (Quadruple Aim) through the use of outcome measures.

Title: Titles should be no longer than 15 words and the heading “title” does not need to appear in the submission.

Content Focus: All submissions will be required to designate an Athletic Training Research Agenda Priority. The Athletic Training Research Agenda can be found here. The research priorities are Health Care Competency, Vitality of The Profession, Health Professions Education, Health Care Economics, and Health Information Technology.

Abstract: A 300-word unstructured abstract should accompany your submission. 

Video Abstract (Optional): A Video Abstract is an accompanying feature for research articles that should attract viewers to the scientific paper. The aim of the Video Abstract is to promote the highlights of your study. Therefore, it should include the main conclusions and results of the paper, but it should also add something to the written paper. Ideally, it should engage viewers by telling a story, for example by starting with a particular finding, a question, or a distinctive topic around which the story will unfold. Your emphasis must be on ways of capturing the attention of your audience, encouraging them to read your paper. The video can be recorded using any software and should be under 2 minutes in length. The video may include voice-over presentation, podcast, and video capture. The video abstracts will be posted on the manuscript homepage and social media.

Introduction: Previous literature related to the pathology/problem is cited and discussed. Describe a pathology (injury, illness, etc.) treated in your clinic and characterize the condition (or a problem impacting providers within your clinic), the typical effects of healthcare service (or the typical effects on healthcare service delivery), and typical outcomes chosen relative to health related quality of life of patients/providers. Pose a purpose or clinical question statement as it relates to the data collected and presented. Hypothesize how these outcome measures can improve our understanding of the condition/problem and/or population. 

Methods: Describe the design of the study. This section should also include any population-specific data that contextualizes the research. This section should also include the following sub-headings:

Patients/Providers: Describe the population of interest. Authors are encouraged to consider what demographic variables contextualize the research question and only report relevant variables. Describe how patients/providers were included for the study. Discuss how the present condition/problem is impacting the current population.

Intervention: Describe the intervention used as part of normal clinical practice (e.g. therapeutic intervention, manual therapy, complementary medicine, prevention program, professional development program, policy change, etc.). Explain in detail the phases or information included as part of your practice. This should directly align with the condition/problem faced by patients/providers.

Outcome Measures: Detail the use of outcome measures in the course of routine practice. Outcome measures should include:

  • Clinician-based outcomes 
  • Degree of injury, type or classification, strength, ROM, posture
  • Patient-based outcomes 
  • Pain, subjective sense of weakness, function, health, and HRQoL
  • Generic self-report
  • Specific self-report
  • Retention 
  • Overall health or work-related quality of life

For each outcome measure used, provide references regarding the reliability and validity of the tool, how you assessed and used the outcome measure (tools, training, etc.)

Results: Provide measures of central tendency for the outcome measures. Consider using meaningful measurements such as minimal detectable change score (MDC), minimally clinically important change score (MCID), or individual change scores. This section should be complemented by tables or figures to help readers visualize change. To improve the traditional narrative of the results, authors are encouraged to consider presenting statistical analyses within the Extended Methods and Data. 

Discussion: Provide support for the results of the study based around the outcomes and how they relate to the purpose and hypothesis. Include analysis information about their utility and ease of use of the outcome measure for clinicians. Compare and contrast the results with previous literature. Limitations of the study should be indicated, with suggestions for future research stated. 

Clinical Application: Provide an explanation, based on the study, on how these outcomes can be used and directly implemented into practice. 

References: List all references used to support the case at the conclusion of the column. References should follow the format specified by the AMA Manual of Style, 11th edition.

Extended Methods and Data (Optional): This section should be used to complement the methods and results, as needed. In this section, please provide a detailed explanation of procedures and processes, interventions, or advanced statistical analysis used in the project. 

Figures, Photos, Illustrations. Each figure must be numbered and cited consecutively in the text. If applicable, arrows or asterisks can be present on figures for identification of specified areas that are discussed in the legend. 

Tables. Each table must be numbered and cited consecutively in the text and should have a short, descriptive title. Abbreviations used in tables that are not commonly understood should be explained in a table legend. Material that is in the tables should not be repeated in the text.