WBB's Thought Leadership

NQF: Patient Reported Outcome Measures Insufficiently Used

September 18

National Quality Forum (NQF) study revealed that healthcare professionals were not paying sufficient attention to Patient Reported Outcomes, failed to prioritize patient outcome priorities.

NQF described “patient voice” as a key success factor in healthcare quality, and described a misalignment in priorities between patients and care providers in which patient voice was not sufficiently incorporated.

Excerpt: “An analysis of online patient communities has shown that healthcare professionals usually don’t look at what matters most to patient satisfaction. This is a huge development for patient reported outcomes (PROs) measures, according to the National Quality Forum (NQF).

“The analysis leveraged data from hundreds of thousands of patients from the online community PatientsLikeMe. Patients involved in the analysis manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, and offered feedback about their conditions, quality of life, and functional outcomes. The survey participants also offered feedback about how medical professionals capture PROs, which are data about how healthcare procedures improved patients’ quality of life, reported from the patient point of view.”

“Representatives from NQF say one of the primary takeaways of the project, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is understanding that the patient voice is key in healthcare. It is important for healthcare professionals to know specifically how to better capture PROs, but even more important for industry experts to know how to tap into online patient communities to develop better healthcare measures.

“‘Patients are the ultimate stakeholders in their care and their health, so it’s critical to know what they need and value most,’ PatientsLikeMe Co-founder and President Ben Heywood said in a prepared statement. ‘This work is the bridge between our robust online patient communities and the National Quality Forum’s long-respected work to identify the best measures of healthcare quality.’”

“Online patient communities offer an important lens into the overall patient experience, and more industry professionals should tap these tools to make improvements. ‘We need to focus on the issues that are most important to patients,’ Agrawal asserted. ‘This approach, drawing on the experience of thousands of patients engaged through the PatientsLikeMe community, is a huge step forward to amplify the patient voice to improve healthcare quality.’

“This analysis was a part of the NQF’s Measure Incubator, which works to develop better methods for collecting healthcare quality measures in areas where measures are limited or non-existent.”

SourcePatient Engagement HIT

WBB Take: “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) is a core principle in quality improvement, and many studies have pointed out how few quality metrics are directly related to patient outcomes measures, fewer still that are patient reported, and even fewer that were designed with patient involvement. The NQF has embarked on an incubator program to develop outcomes measures that draw on the patient experience, and thus embody VoC in two ways: Involvement of patients in the selection and design of metrics, and collection and use of patient generated outcomes data.
Part of the move from fee-for-service to value-based care is understanding what patients regard as value, and reducing waste by identifying and eliminating elements in the patient journey that are not value-added. This step also has importance in reducing the overall level of waste in healthcare, which some studies have estimated as being as high as 30% of all care cost.

Cited by Matthew Loxton


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