In the healthcare industry, progress cannot be made without ongoing clinical research, including surveillance, diagnosis and assessment. Without such studies and care, there would be no telling where improvement needs to be made and how to make it. Healthcare professionals rely on the information and data that clinical research collects to be able to better treat their patients, and it is not without outcome assessments that they are able to make the necessary changes. Outcome assessments enable medical professionals to measure the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare received by the patient.
An outcome assessment does not necessarily provide answers but can act as a guide or a tool for medical professionals and others to use to facilitate the improvement of their services. When collecting data in an outcome assessment, it is important to do so efficiently and as carefully as possible. Often, it is the patient who assesses their own experience or wellbeing in a questionnaire or survey, as these will be the most accurate accounts, so it is imperative that you use a suitable method to record the information they provide. Here are some points you should take into consideration…
Who will report of the outcome?
The person collecting the results of an outcome assessment is likely to have a significant influence upon the data gathered. Often different people are selected depending on the reason for the assessment.
Patient-reported outcome assessment – This is a measurement based on a report that comes directly from the patient and will include the status of the patient’s health, wellbeing, care provision and related events. These reports can be either recorded by the patient directly via a questionnaire or online survey or by an interviewer, who must record the patient’s response word for word.
Observer-reported outcome assessment – As the name suggests, this is an assessment carried out by an observer, often used when a patient is unable to report outcomes themselves, for example if they are young or too ill. This type of assessment cannot be used to directly assess symptoms or pain, only observable concepts, such as behaviour. The observer does not require professional training, and often independent observers may be used.
Clinician-reported outcome assessment – This is an assessment carried out by an observer with professional training that can include an evaluation and interpretation of the patient’s condition based on clinical judgement. Whilst patient-reported outcomes may deal more in emotions, clinician-reported outcomes may look at successful surgery rates, for example.
What information should you collect?
Whilst many healthcare providers may want to collect as much relevant information as possible, it is important to be realistic about how much information you can process at one time, taking into consideration time, costs and other resources. By determining exactly which outcomes will be of particular interest and what you plan to do with the data you collect, you will be better able to organise it efficiently and quickly, and to create a clear goal. This will also help you to decide which method of data collection is best to use.
How should you use the data?
Unless your outcome data is collected using an efficient, appropriate method, it could be rendered useless, and the same goes for the methods you use to analyse and interpret the data. The data you collect should be sufficiently analysed in order to be made use of within the healthcare sector. Before beginning your outcome assessment, address which areas you want to assess and put the data you have collected to use within these afterwards.
These are just a few points to consider when preparing your outcome assessment, but if you would like to discuss your particular project with a Document Capture Company team member with experience in collecting data across a number of clinical assessments, get in touch today. As well as assisting with data collection, we can help to turn records into insight that grants actionable improvement. Doesn’t that sound like something your care facility could use?
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