On September 29 and 30, healthcare industry experts will convene in Boston for the Patient Engagement and Experience Summit, a 2-day conference aimed to highlight innovations and best practices in the mission to enhance the patient experience.
At the conference, Dr. Neil Wagle, a Medical Director at Partners HealthCare, will discuss the importance of Patient Reported Outcome Measurements (PROM) and their potential to improve patient care.
For the unfamiliar, PROMs are a way to systematically and numerically capture a patient’s symptoms via a questionnaire validated by the medical community. At Partners Healthcare institutions they are administered to patients at home via a patient portal, during appointment check-in via iPad, or by the clinician. In the case of the patient portal and iPad, the results of the questions are fed into your chart in real time.
“PROMs data provide for much better shared decision making between the physician and the patient,” explains Wagle, of the importance of gathering this information. Using the International Prostate Symptoms Score, for example, helps primary care physicians like Wagle have a more meaningful conversation with patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia.
“It lets us have a much richer conversation about whether they’re appropriate for medication, surgery or other treatment,” he explains. “Being able to point to this data improves the decision making capabilities of the patient and clinician.”
Collected in aggregate, PROMs can be used to compare the quality of care provided at the institutional and clinician level. “Current quality metrics suggest that all institutions are alike in healthcare—that there is no difference between going to one institution or another,” explains Wagle. “There is a hypothesis that PROMs are going to be one of the primary ways that we truly measure the quality of the care we’re providing.”
Over the past four years, during which Wagle has led the development of the Partners Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement program, he has noticed an increase in the popularity of PROMs. But there is still more work to be done, particularly in the realm of education. “We’re at a place right now where we’re demanding more and more of our physicians,” he says. “We need to help clinicians understand how to use patient reported outcome measures and the value they provide in terms of providing better care.”
Additionally, Wagle points to transparency as another important step in implementing PROMs effectively, so that institutions can learn from one another. “We want to develop a healthcare system that learns,” he says. Partners plans to lead the way in this effort, and has plans to be fully transparent with their PROMs in the coming months.
For more information about the Patient Engagement and Experience Summit, and Dr. Wagle’s talk, please click here.
Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
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