How Patient-Reported Outcomes Change the Game

By Haley Bass | 10/28/2016

In medical terms, an outcome is defined as the result or condition of a patient’s health after treatment.1 Although outcomes have always been used to measure the effectiveness of treatment, the health care industry is now leaning toward a focus on patient-reported outcomes. By analyzing the patient experience, providers can have a better understanding of what specifically is working.

"I see patient-reported outcomes as creating a brand new feedback loop. And really, for the first time, creating measures of quality out of the eyes of the patient—not the eyes of the doctor," says Kristine Martin Anderson, senior vice president at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.2

The basic idea here is that each patient needs to be viewed as an individual, rather than as just an illness or injury to be treated. The more data providers have on the exact issues of the patient and how different treatments affect their health over time, the better they’ll understand how to improve the quality of care.

Collecting Patient-Reported Outcomes

Questionnaires are the most common way to collect patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). PROMs aren’t just given after treatment, though. To get the best data, patients should complete questionnaires before, during, AND after treatment so that the provider can monitor their progress. The questions should assess symptoms, functioning, quality of life, and ratings of health care. The Likert scale, which commonly uses a response range from strongly disagree to strongly agree, is a common questionnaire method that provides data that is measurable across a set of patients while still allowing a wide choice of responses.3

How PROMS Can Be Used

Analyzing PROMs benefits people across the health care industry. Providers can use the data to improve the quality of treatment, while patients can better understand and discuss their health care needs. Purchasers and payors benefit by getting more value for their health care dollars.4

There are many possible uses for PROMs, including:

  • a system for comparing providers for a particular treatment
  • developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines
  • informing patients and purchasers in their selection of providers
  • educating patients
  • assessing technologies
  • improving provider-patient relationships.4

PROMs data can also help improve care coordination.

"One of the things we talked about across the medical center is that as patients transition from primary care practice to different specialty practices for particular conditions, it would be helpful to have that same sort of standardized data across time so that we know how the condition has evolved and responded to different treatments," said Rachel Hess, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh.2

The Concentra Solution

Concentra is committed to redefining the patient experience, so we’ve created a patient-centric culture to ensure positive outcomes and exceptional experiences. Concentra utilizes survey questionnaires for patients to rate their experience with us, their medical outcome, and their willingness to return and/or recommend us to others. While the average company rates between 1-10, Concentra has an outstanding score of 59, which ranks among leading companies in customer service.5