Most hospitals fail to benefit from Patient Reported Outcome data

Despite plans by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to factor patient-reported outcomes (PROs) into a new Medicare payment system, the vast majority of U.S. hospitals are neglecting to regularly review these measures.

That’s according to a new survey by data warehouse and analytics vendor Health Catalyst, which reveals that only 18 percent of responding healthcare clinical and administrative executives always use PROs to guide clinical care.

“Patient-reported outcomes are critical to enabling healthcare’s evolution from focusing on the volume of services delivered to the value created for patients,” a spokesman told  Healthcare IT News.  Providers who can demonstrate their patients have improving health will be eligible for higher payments than they would receive for the same services to patients reporting continuing problems.

PROs can include any measure of a patient’s symptoms and physical, cognitive, social and emotional functioning, as well as their health-related quality of life. Health systems and clinicians traditionally have focused on measuring adherence to evidence-based medicine guidelines, limiting outcome measures to events such as a patient’s death. CMS first used PROs to determine reimbursements for knee and hip replacements.

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Survey respondents who said their organizations currently use PROs, even if only occasionally, said they do so primarily to track chronic disease care and progress of surgery patients. Asked to list all of the areas in which they use PROs, 59 percent selected “chronic care tracking” and 58 percent selected “surgical interventions.” Mental health (27 percent) and “symptom tracking for cancer care patients” (22 percent) also are common areas where PROs are used.

Nearly three-quarters of survey takers (72 percent) who said they “rarely” or “never” use PROs said they plan to begin using the measures within one to three years.

Despite this implied commitment, survey respondents cite several specific barriers to widespread PRO deployment: “time and/or money” (36 percent of respondents), “difficulty fitting PROs into clinicians’ daily workflow” (26 percent), technology (15 percent), organization resistance (10 percent), and lack of leadership (4 percent).




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