Patient-reported outcome measures help to assess whether medical professionals and the services they provide are successful in improving the health of patients and their sense of well-being. Before patient-reported outcomes, the government and those involved in the healthcare industry would rely on readmissions, hospital acquired infections and mortality rates to help them assess success and progression. Now, with patient-reported outcome measures, they are able to work on improving services and treatments using patients’ views of their health status to better gauge success, allowing more immediate access to information that can ensure optimum care and patient experiences.
What are patient-reported outcome measures?
Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are questionnaires or surveys used to help medical professionals understand the impact of healthcare on a patient’s health and quality of life. PROMs are often administered both before after care has been received to give an accurate comparison between the two, though in the cases of long-term care being needed, a patient might be asked to complete the questionnaire in the middle of their ongoing treatment.
How can PROMs be used to improve care?
Patient-reported outcome measures enable the patient to be involved in the decisions made about their care. It gives them a chance to have their say, and to have it recorded and put to good use, rather than forgotten as soon as the next patient comes along. PROMs also encourage a better relationship between the patient and the healthcare professionals, as it allows them to voice their worries and fears. The information gathered can be used to not only better a particular patient’s experience, but used to ensure future patients receive improved care too.
Are there any limitations?
A patient’s ability to answer the questionnaire effectively can depend on their well-being or state of mind. In the case that they are unable to write their answers, an observer with no medical background can assess the health status of the patient and record specifically sought information, though this is not as effective. Healthcare professionals have recently introduced technology-driven tools, such as mobile data capture, to make the questionnaires easier for those who might have low literacy skills or be otherwise unable to fill out the questionnaire by hand. Of course, the information received in this type of data collection will need to be handled appropriately, and those involved in the improvement process will need access to previous data and resources so that they are able to interpret ‘scores’.
The right tools for the job
In order to ensure the patient’s voice is heard, it is imperative that the professional chooses the right method to use and finds assessment tools that help to accomplish several goals. The patient’s values and preferences will need to be taken into account, as well as the medical circumstance they are in. There are many methods of data collection available that can be used for patient-reported outcomes, but what is just as important is the methods used to analyse the data after collection. As there is a large amount of data already available that can be used to compare with the information you have received, you will need a programme that enables you to manage and control it sufficiently.
At DCC, we can provide a range of solutions which we can tailor to meet your specific needs, to ensure that your research or survey is carried out efficiently. We handle all aspects of data collection, so if you’re in need of some advice or would like to make an enquiry, get in touch with us today.