Getting the most out of PROMs as a consultant
Collecting and analysing Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) is crucial for improving the quality of care, but it presents significant challenges for busy surgical practices. While the importance of PROMs is widely acknowledged, the practical implementation of this process is complex.
The task of collecting PROMs involves many obstacles, including logistical, administrative, and patient-engagement issues. Healthcare providers must navigate these challenges to harness the full potential of PROMs in revolutionising healthcare quality.
To address these challenges and maximise the value of PROMs data, we have recently dedicated our efforts to this area. We firmly believe in the transformative power of data in elevating healthcare standards. In a short period, we have gained valuable insights that we believe can benefit others seeking to optimise PROMs collection and analysis.
Getting patients on board
PROMs can help improve future patient care, but they rely on input from current patients, who will understandably have other priorities.
Frequently, patients complete their pre-operative questionnaires while their attention is focused on their impending treatment. This heightened engagement typically wanes after the procedure, making it easy for them to overlook the post-operative questionnaire, even if they are eager to contribute.
For this reason, Medbelle has worked hard to get patients on board with PROMs. Rather than sending a generic email and hoping that the patient will respond, Medbelle’s Patient Care Advisers (PCAs) explain to each patient individually how important these questionnaires are and remind the patients how these forms can help improve outcomes.
Medbelle’s PCAs are uniquely well placed to remind patients, as they are there along every step of a patient’s journey, but the key is explaining why it is important that PROMs are filled out and how the patient can help future patients with their feedback.
While clinicians strive to remain current with cutting-edge techniques and equipment, it's widely recognised that the administrative aspects of healthcare can, at times, seem antiquated.
This includes the process of collecting Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), where many questionnaires are still distributed via postal mail, requiring patients to complete them manually and return them by mail.
Medbelle has discovered several advantages of using digital forms. These forms can be transmitted and received instantaneously, and they are typically more efficient for patients to complete. Instead of requiring patients to manually fill out a form and then mail it back, Medbelle's digital forms allow patients to conveniently complete them from the comfort of their own homes. This is especially significant for individuals who may have limited mobility during their post-surgery recovery.
Utilising digital forms significantly streamlines the collection and analysis of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). This streamlined process not only benefits our current patients but also contributes to the enhancement of future outcomes. Medbelle's digital approach additionally provides surgeons with real-time access to review these scores, enabling them to deliver tailored treatments and adapt their approaches for improved patient outcomes.
Increasing completion rates
Medbelle’s approach, combining the personal and technological, has seen a sustained increase in completion rates.
Getting the most out of the data
Of course, collecting the patient feedback is only worthwhile if we then use that data effectively to look for potential areas for improvement or identify what is working well.
At Medbelle, our focus has been on analysing and presenting feedback from patients in clear and effective ways, but also by combining it with other metrics.
Certainly, there are several limitations to consider when extracting insights from data. First and foremost, there must be a sufficient quantity of results to achieve statistical significance. Additionally, the data points should exhibit consistency, and ideally, they should be readily comparable across results obtained from various clinicians or healthcare settings.
Medbelle's PROMs gains
Pre-operative completion rates increase by over 100% within weeks of the project beginning. The increase has been sustained in the 12 months since then.
Finding the time
And this is perhaps the biggest challenge for consultants looking to get more out of PROMs. Reminding patients to set up automatic systems to collect and analyse data: all of this takes time, and for a busy consultant, that time is at a premium.
Of course, your practice team can help with much of this, and once it is set up initially, it takes less work to keep it going.
Medbelle is also here to help. When your patients are managed through Medbelle, they have access to the PCA service, and those PCAs will help to collect your PROMs. Medbelle OS, our practice management software, automatically collates and displays the results in an easy-to-analyse dashboard so you can get the most out of them.
Finally, we’re also here to share our team’s expertise with you or your practice team. If you’re part of the Medbelle network, get in touch with your Partnerships Manager to find out more.
To summarise some of the things we’ve learned at Medbelle in a few steps for improving PROMs completion rates and effectiveness:
- Make it personal: avoiding generic reminders to patients and explaining why PROMs are so important helps motivate them to complete questionnaires months after their procedure
- Go digital: the advantages of digital PROMs questionnaires are manifold and improve patient completion rates
- Get a good system in place: putting procedures in place to automatically collect PROMs will take time, but once that’s done, a lot of the process can be more automated.
- Embrace technology: software such as Medbelle OS automatically collects and even analyses PROMs data so that consultants can concentrate on the results rather than the collection.
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