A clinician’s central goal is to help his patients: cure their illnesses, ease their discomfort, and help them manage their health overall. However, doing this more effectively and efficiently requires outcomes data.
Both clinical and patient reported outcome measurement allow to evaluate the effect of certain treatments, procedures such as e.g. a knee surgery on the patients’ health and quality of life.

According to the National Quality Forum, Patient Reported Outcome Measures have been defined as “any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else.” In other words, PROM tools measure what patients are able to do and how they feel by asking questions via questionnaires. These tools enable assessment of patient–reported health status for physical, mental, and social well–being. PROMs can be used for general care improvements, research and clinical trials. They provide unique information on the impact of a medical condition and its treatment from the patient’s perspective.  

10 things to know

Here are 10 things to take into account when collecting PROMs

1. Questionnaires. ICHOM is a research–based, nonprofit organization with a mission to define global Standard Sets of outcome measures that matter most to patients in order to drive adoption and reporting of these measures, worldwide, and create better value for all stakeholders. ICHOM established a list of standardized questions that should be consulted when implementing PROMs.

2. Patient-centered. Quality of care. PROMs offer an opportunity to capture needed information for use during care, with potential cost savings and improvements in quality of care, care management, and patient safety. Patients can feel like an integral part of the care team when they can contribute to the decision-making process. PROMs also provide quantitative information for patients regarding the ‘impact on daily life’. This information may support discussions between a patient and healthcare provider regarding their health status and the net clinical benefit of a new therapy, or when making a choice about alternative therapies.

3. Technologies. PROMs can be collected using a wide array of electronic devices and interfaces available at home or in the clinic.  In order to promote more widespread use, it should be easy for patients to complete the surveys via for example smartphone apps, Web-based tools, or even in-clinic kiosks.

4. ROI. According to a report published by McKinsey&Company on the promise of global standards in healthcare, PROMs can help healthcare organizations save tens of thousands of dollars annually by reducing admissions to the hospital or long-term care facilities. As a matter of fact, PROM collection offers its users a variety of ways to generate value. For researchers, the data analysis tools provide powerful opportunities to analyze deep data sets. Physicians can drive efficiency in their care process by only focusing on patients that need more attention (e.g. using PROMS as triage tool).

5. Evidence-based decision-making. Patient-reported outcomes measure key aspects of disease burden, and clinical research should also include PROMs when evaluating the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Patient-reported outcomes assessments should be scientifically rigorous so that the data can be confidently applied to evidence-based decision-making among all stakeholders including clinicians, patients, regulators, payers, sponsors, and health policy-makers.

6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA, signed into law on April 16th, 2015) is financially incentivizing hospitals to collect and provide outcome data by reimbursing a smaller percentage if they don’t do so (learn more about these quality payment programs).  

7. Benchmark. PROMs data may enable clinicians to identify strengths and weaknesses in the care provided, and to compare the clinician’s performance with their outcomes against those of peer organizations and find ways to improve.

8. Quality of care. Little is known about aggregating this data for measuring how well the health system is delivering care. Therefore, health systems must determine when and how to include this data in the medical record and care plan and educate physicians and administration personnel about the importance of measuring PROMs for the patient’s health enhancement. Raising awareness is crucial for a proper implementation of PROMs.

9. Data collection and analytics. PROMs can be difficult to collect and aggregate, making missing data a frequent occurrence. For this reason, clinicians and researchers should seek to minimize missing data and should also be familiar with appropriate methods/tools for analyzing and reporting on outcomes.

10. Stay one step ahead. According to the CommonWealth Fund ,PROMs will become increasingly important in the future of care delivery. In the coming years, patient-reported measures are expected to play a more prominent role in assessing performance and determining the comparative effectiveness of different treatments, in part because of a growing emphasis on patient-centered care and value-based payment approaches. Therefore, in order to comply with  the natural evolution of healthcare, it is important to start collecting PROMs.

LynxCare uses its PROM tool to collect outcome data from thousands of patients together with the aggregated clinical outcome data from the EMR. This enables physicians to leverage outcome data to improve decision quality, reduce anxiety related to treatment decisions, and counsel patients and their families on expected results of care.