Patient Reported Outcome Measures are used to measure change, and they are one of the ways in which private practices, trusts and hospitals can monitor the impact of services provided to patients. The purpose of gathering information is for quality assurance in regards to the effectiveness of clinical procedures. Clinicians find this information highly useful.
Understanding Patient Reported Outcome Measures
Everyone wants healthcare to be improved. Each and every aspect of healthcare from the better health of the patient to a better experience at hospital can all be quantified and measured.
Elements within these outcomes have been widely agreed and are changes in quality of life and/or health resulting from care. A continual review of these outcomes will establish a set of standards that will improve every aspect of care provided by a medical practice.
Activity data can be a measurement in clinical outcomes and that data could include things like rates of readmission amongst other agreed upon types of measurements. Data could be recorded by staff like nurses, doctors, psychologists and/or other health professionals.
Patients and/or the patients’ families can also report outcome measures. PROMs, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, are a vital way in which outcomes can be measured as perceived by patients’ self-assessment. The analysis includes their assessment as to their general health and the quality of their lives as an outcome of clinical treatments.
Measuring Outcomes Provides Several Benefits
A system of measurement that is reliable will have several benefits, including: Providing patients with groundwork for well-informed options Better public accountability and transparency Giving surgeons the ability to better judge and make improvements in practice Providing evidence to improve service and quality assurance More reliable data for decisions in funding used by health commissioners
Are There Outcome Measurement Barriers?
Why isn’t there already a system in place if outcome measurement is so necessary?
The short answer to that is that coming up with an intelligible, meaningful and fair system can be highly complicated.
These are issues that need to be looked at:
Specialty differences – With 10 specialties and each having specialised practices, it’s impossible to get one approach that is suitable for all
What is measured? Choosing the most common operations by surgeons within specialties in order to gather data is difficult.
How are measurements taken? The success of a surgery is subjective to the patient and the type of surgery as well as how serious the patient’s condition is and the general state of health.
Timeframe – What period of time must elapse between surgery and the collection of data? Sometimes it is years later.
Clinical and patient self-reported analysis – Both are given equal weight as both are important. One is a set of measurements that is scientific whilst the other is experiential. The system needs to have enough sophistication to find a happy medium between the two worlds. It is thought that this will come with experience and refinement of methodology.
How will results be published? – Since the data collected is highly complex, the publication must be carefully planned in terms of a variety of audiences. This is especially important in terms of what is being released to the general public so that they can understand the information easily yet it needs to be sophisticated enough for them to be able to make informed choices.
Adjustment for risk factors – The collection of statistics must account for those surgeons performing high risk surgeries and are also involved in the development of techniques that are new. The measurement of outcomes must not foster medical practices to become conservative in light of this.
Quality of data – Across the NHS there is a wide variation in quality in terms of how data is gathered and recorded. Focus must be on improving data systems.
Individual vs team analysis – Modern practices in medicine are working towards better teamwork across various medical disciplines to improve care as well as specialist inter-reliance upon each other. As outcome measures are being refined, there needs to a team focus on results that can filter better down to the individual.