Back to All


Kerry Kittson PT and Tim Paquette


Have you ever discovered the equivalent to a peanut butter and jam sandwich – something that just works well together?

This year, two members of the CPA team discovered the physiotherapy equivalent to this perfect combination. When paired, these two programs work together – just like the gastrocs and soleus!

Why does this matter to you? Well, if you like saving time and developing your career, give us five minutes and we’ll explain.

The PB&J breakdown

Let’s break it down in terms of the perfect PB and J. Picture FOTO as peanut butter. FOTO is the electronic outcome measures (eOM) base that makes life creamy and easier. You’ve got a smoother, easier process of tracking patient outcomes that comes along with using eOM over pen and paper.

Enter jam: the Clinical Specialty Program (CSP) is the sweet, tarty topper that compliments your peanut butter. It’s sweet. It’s time tested. It’s the J that brings the PB sandwich of your career to the next level.

Let’s dig in.

The reason why this matters to you, is that they share some commonalities that, when used together will make your practice (and probably your life) easier. To complete the Clinical Specialty Program, you need to demonstrate certain competencies. Using eOM can help make your Clinical Specialty Program process easier – and likely more enjoyable.

Here’s how:

  1. Involvement in Research

According to many physiotherapists, one of the most challenging competency and program requirements of the CSP is Involvement in Research (see p.7). Just like we discuss in Myth 2 from the CSP meets Mythbusters post, most physiotherapists assume that “research” means being a lead project research investigator.

Not the case.

Since collecting and analyzing patient outcome measures is part of research…

Figure 1: MYTH 2 is RE-BUSTED – with help from eOM.

Physiotherapists who collect episodes of care through paper-based or (better yet) eOM meet CSP’s research competency and program requirement.


  1. Innovation

The second most challenging competency for clinical specialty candidates is Innovation (p.13). You can accomplish being “action-oriented and committed to improvements in the quality of your practice” in many different ways; here’s how “peanut butter” can help:

FOTO allows you to use, analyze and integrate patient-reported outcome measure data, which is what clinical specialists need to demonstrate. You can use eOM to modernize and improve your existing services, like better tracking a patient’s eOM throughout their treatment plan. Specifically, FOTO can help demonstrate patient engagement, which helps you both with becoming a clinical specialist and with your overall practice.

You can also demonstrate innovation simply by using FOTO. When you record your episodes of care, you help to grow the Canadian FOTO eOM Database, which in turn both shows the effectiveness of your profession, and can help advance physiotherapy at a policy level.


  1. Communication and Collaboration

Clinical specialists are considered to be proficient in documentation and reporting. Physiotherapists who use FOTO can excel in this area by collecting online patient functional status questions during assessment, discharge, and any follow-up in between. You can capture FOTO eOM through:

  • Computer
  • Tablet
  • iPad
  • Patient’s smartphone

Because the #futureiselectronic, FOTO is now integrated with Practice Perfect and ABELMedelectronic medical record (EMR) systems and is currently integrating with:

Using any of these EMRs (with FOTO) demonstrates this clinical specialist competency (p.12).


  1. Professional Development aka Lifelong Learning

Clinical specialists seek out and create innovative opportunities for learning (p.11). The FOTO eOM system has a Report Portal that allows physiotherapists to reflect on their areas of strength, also areas for improvement.

By using comparisons in the FOTO Database, you can learn that you have better treatments of patients with ankle issues, and you need to improve in predicted outcomes of your knee patients.

This clinical reflection can help guide career development in your specialty area of interest.


  1. Teaching and Mentoring

FOTO’s Report Portal provides an excellent teaching and mentoring tool (p.11) for students and colleagues to reflect on their own practice for professional development. If you own a physiotherapy private practice, you can more accurately learn your physiotherapists’ strengths.

If there’s a physio who has “red” in their ability to treat knee injuries (an area of improvement), then you can pair them with one who has “green” in that area (one who has better than predicted outcomes).


  1. Advanced Clinical Reasoning

One essential component of a Clinical Specialist is using advanced clinical reasoning (p.9) in decision-making. Enter peanut butter (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: FOTO eOM, adding texture and richness to your clinical reasoning

FOTO generates an Intake Functional Status Summary report that includes a prediction for how the patient will improve throughout their treatment. Physiotherapists can use this prediction to discuss and set goals with a patient – which not only creates engagement, but qualifies as advanced clinical reasoning.

  1. Advanced Knowledge

The clinical specialist in physiotherapy demonstrates an advanced level (p.8) of knowledge. This breaks down into:

  • Theoretical
  • Practice-based; and
  • Research-based knowledge.

Using FOTO eOM not only qualifies a physiotherapist as having tech savvy skills, but it allows a candidate to apply their knowledge to the best of their ability, or to reach their “full jam potential” (see Figure 3).


  1. Advanced Clinical Skills

FOTO’s Report Portal allows for a Clinical Specialist candidate to demonstrate advanced clinical skills (p.9) with utilization statistics, which incorporate effectiveness and efficiency into prognosis predictions.

FOTO can also help with enabling effective communication through more accurate predicted recovery times.

Figure 3: A closer look at the Clinical Specialty Program


  1. Leadership

A refresher on leadership (p.9):

  • We know that the #futureiselectronic and that it includes eOM.
  • CPA’s number one strategic objective is to lead the development of outcome measurement systems.
  • The Canadian FOTO eOM Database can be utilized to advocate for physiotherapy to the government for the effectiveness of your profession.


Now consider these:

  1. Would you like to be a leader and make a difference in your profession?
  2. Would you like to increase your efficiency and effectiveness as a physiotherapist?
  3. Do you like peanut butter and jam sandwiches (or any other nut butter, if you’re allergic)?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, please do consider reaching out to either of us (Tim for Clinical Specialty Program and Kerry for FOTO eOM) to learn more.


As always, please leave questions or comments below – we look forward to chatting with you!

Kerry Kittson PT
Practice & Policy Coordinator and FOTO Lead

Tim Paquette
Coordinator of Clinical Specialty Program