Official CSM 2013 iOS App Available

CSM 2013 is quickly approaching, is your itinerary planned? (I know you’ve been networking before the conference)

Here in time to help is the APTA CSM 2013 App. Basically, the app contains most of the information about the schedule, speakers, exhibitors, venues, and San Diego you find be lugging around in the bulky paper directories you get at the registration table.

In lieu of yammering on more about the specific features, I recorded a quick demo of the app using my favorite app of 2012 – Reflector. Enjoy:

Demo of the APTA CSM 2013 Mobile App from Mike Pascoe on Vimeo.

Here is a quick video showing a few things you can do with the APTA CSM 2013 app, which was released on Dec 20, 2012.

Here is the link to the app:


Phrase of the Day: Prospective Surveillance

Recently, the open-access journal, Cancer, included a special issue: Supplement: A Prospective Surveillance Model for Rehabilitation for Women With Breast Cancer. This model has been described by researcher, Nicole Stout, as a “proactive approach to periodically examining patients and providing ongoing assessment during and after disease treatment, often in the absence of impairment, in an effort to enable early detection of and intervention for physical impairments known to be associated with cancer treatment(1).” In other words, checking early and often so that issues can be dealt with at a mangeable stage and not in a catastrophic end-stage presentation. Theoretically, this model of approach can mitigate many of the known poor related outcomes for patients following cancer treatment.

The model of prospective surveillance has been developed over the last decade at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda-now part of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It’s the standard of care for all patients there and serves as a great base for research into the clinical effectiveness of this approach. While bottom-line cost savings numbers aren’t apparent yet, this seems a likely outcome, as overall, patients consume less care when issues are dealt with in early stages when their prognosis is still strong. Regardless, it’s a cool phrase!

The prospective surveillance model attempts to cover many aspects of cancer treatment, including awareness of known side-effects to the sometimes persistent upper extremity pain and dysfunction that so many women share following treatment for breast cancer. Describing and quantifying the séquelle of post-treatment effects that are common following treatment that can be ameliorated through rehabilitation are part in parcel in studying this model, and are dealt with as well in the supplemental Cancer issue. Check it out and get smart!

Nicole Stout
Eric Robertson and Nicole Stout, President’s Reception. Chicago, IL 2012

This issue hits close to home for me. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. As she recovered, I was well aware of the musculoskeletal dysfunction in her upper extremity, yet was confounded at the lack of attention that received from her care providers. Research into this area is a critical, emerging field of physical therapy and one that makes me proud.

As an aside, Nicole Stout is a member of the  APTA Board of Directors (Scroll to Bottom). She is in candidate status this year and I’m sure would appreciate any support one could be in the position to be in as elections approach in June. She does important work.

1. Stout NL. Cancer prevention in physical therapist practice. Phys Ther. 2009; 89( 11): 1119-1122.


Happy Mother’s Day: Get Real

[icon style=”notice”]Update: Be patient with the site as they roll out over the next few days… [/icon]

Welcome to PT Think Tank’s new website design and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!

Today, we’re going to jump right in and get real on Mother’s Day. So real, in fact, that we’re going to talk about fistulas. Obstetric fistulas, to be specific. The kind that form mostly in impoverished countries after childbirth, we’re birth trauma causes tissue death and connects parts of the mother’s pelvic anatomy that should never, ever be connected. Women suffering with obstetric fistulae are ostracized by husbands and communities and suffer from infections, poor quality of life, and even death.

According to The Fistula Foundation, the occurence of new obstetric fistulae number about 50,000-100,000 annually, while the global capacity to treat this condition is only around 20,000. While this condition is extremely rare in developed countries, the World Health Organization estimates that between 2 to 3 million mothers in poor countries struggle with it. While the cause of obstetric fistulae are complex,  with as little as $450-$1000, the condition can be effectively repaired surgically.

My very compassionate and talented fried, Michelle Greer let me know about Samahope. is attempting to tackle this problem. This new venture is working to crowd-fund this procedure for women who can’t afford it. In an elegant interplay between philanthropy and technology, allows donors to select the individuals you want to help, donate simply using PayPal, and even track the outcomes for the surgeries they helped fund. is a project of, a non-profit based out of Silicon Valley who is working to reduce poverty through creating jobs via the innovate idea of mircrowork, connecting people with jobs over the internet. Leila Janah, the founder of Samasource, spoke recently at a TED event in Brussels:

[youtube id=”319sQ9s-lyQ#!” width=”550″ height=”300″ align=”center”]

Get involved and for this Mother’s Day, in addition to that nice pot of flowers and brunch we all like to confer upon our maternals, give the gift of life. If you’re feeling a bit quirky, consider browsing through some Weird Gifts to add a delightful twist to the traditional Mother’s Day celebrations. Those who are looking for custom gift options may consider visiting sites like Swagify to see more items. is beginning their rollout today. In fact, they have but one tweet. It says, “How can you help change a life with only $20? Easy… I just did.

[button style=”green” link=”” target=”_self” align=”left”]Donate Now[/button]

Post Series: Leveraging Technology for Research, Evidence, and Discussion

Via What is RSS? Click image to link to post!

This week I will be giving a lecture in the Scientific Inquiry course at the Physical Therapy Program of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Recently Mike Pascoe posted about Papers a Mac based application that allows for streamlined organization of PDF’s.

My talk will focus on how to utilize Real Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds and Readers (such as Google Reader) to improve access and engagement of information. This includes information from journals, blogs, websites, and even pub-med searches pushed directly to you. I have written about this topic before at the AAOMPT Student Special Interest Group in a post entitled Information to You! RSS Feeds and RSS Readers. That post detailed how to set up Google Reader and gave a list of some blogs/journals.

Afterwards, I will also publish a series of posts about how to utilize various RSS tools. It will focus on RSS feeds and readers from set up through advanced use. I will also outline why you should be following and reading specific journals. Then, I will provide critiques of various blogs. Twitter and Physiopedia will be briefly discussed. Lastly, I will outline how we can improve our discussion and scientific debate through these tools with an eye towards the future. This is not a new topic, but I hope to bring a lot of information together to aid in how YOU leverage online tools for learning, debate, and collaboration. If you have any specific requests, please comment!

These tools allow individuals from around the world and across various disciplines/specialities to share information. Further, as Mike Pascoe mentioned in his recent talk regarding twitter, journal articles are being critiqued before the print version has even been released!

Via Flickr: Courtesy of Laurel Papworth & Gary Hayes at and

We are truly in an exciting time. Online tools and collaboration in medicine and health are approaching a tipping point. We can leverage these tools to improve physical therapy, medicine, and the entire health care system from education to research to patient care to patient education to documentation to inter-professional communication…

Smart phone “use” by physicians. What do the numbers really mean?

A recent article entitled “Why industry surveys on physician adoption of smart phones could be overestimating reality”at iMedicalApps [Mobile Medical App Reviews & Commentary – A publication by medical professionals] explored what recent market research really means…

It has been cited in market research that 72% to 94% of physicians are using smart phones in clinical practice (Questions: How are they using them? And, how often?).  Josh Herigon, MPH  a second year medical student and blogger at Number Needed to Treat comments:

“Although these studies show a high degree of smartphone adoption among physicians, these results should be interpreted cautiously. These firms provide few details on how they actually conducted these studies. A major hurdle to conducting such research is sampling bias. This can occur in survey research when researchers get a low response rate (i.e.—researchers approach a large number of individuals to fill out a survey but few actually fill it out).”

A little bird told me that a PTJ internal study revealed that no more than 50% of the physical therapists they sampled used smart phones. And, while the percentage of professionals who have and use smart phones is interesting data, I think there is a bigger question to consider. How many physicians, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers who own smart phones are using them routinely and effectively in clinical practice?

Owning a smart phone and leveraging its capabilities during clinical practice are two vastly different things. I am an avid smart phone owner and user, but to be honest, I rarely use my phone in clinical practice. I actually use it most while practicing within the in-patient hospital setting to look up medications, abbreviations, surgeries, and specific diagnoses. But, that is only when I am not near, or logged into, a computer. Admittedly, in the outpatient setting I grossly underuse the capabilities of my phone.

Why are we still giving out paper copies of exercises and patient education? I believe the opportunities for leveraging this technology for clinical support, aiding in clinical decision making, and pt. education are infinite. In my opinion, routine use could actually markedly increase efficiency and quality of care especially in physical therapy. Patient’s use and love their smart phone, so why aren’t we interfacing with them using technology? [Yes, I understand the potential HIPPA considerations and that is not the point of this post]

  • Patient education
  • Home exercise programs: Pictures, videos, directions
  • Pictures and videos of patient performance (motor control, motor learning, and feedback)
  • Documentation
  • Scheduling

Do you think it would be possible to run a private practice and physical therapy LLC strictly from a smart phone. If not, why not? Paper is messy and overated anyway…

Do you have a smart phone? If so, how are you using your smart phone in clinical practice? Do you use specific applications? Any ideas for how we can better utilize this technology as we move forward?

Considering making the switch to a smart phone? Check out this article targeted towards medical professionals: iPhone, Blackberry, or Android?