The field of occupational therapy, as with all facets of health care, has been profoundly affected by the changing climate of health care delivery. The combination of cost-effectiveness and quality of care has become the benchmark for and consequent drive behind the rise of managed health care delivery systems. The spawning of outcomes research is in direct response to the need for comparative databases to provide results of effectiveness in health care treatment protocols, evaluations of health-related quality of life, and cost containment measures. Outcomes management is the application of outcomes research data by all levels of health care providers. The challenges facing occupational therapists include proving our value in an economic trend of downsizing, competing within the medical profession, developing and affiliating with new payer sources, and reengineering our careers to meet the needs of the new, nontraditional health care marketplace.

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