April 26, 2022

How to Improve Patient-Reported Outcomes Collection

How to Achieve Patient Centricity in Consumer-Based Healthcare

If you’re a health system or hospital, you likely know all too well the upsides of collecting patient-reported outcome (PRO) data — but also the challenges.

PRO data can pave the way to national accreditation, higher reimbursement, and improved quality performance. But at the same time, research has found that clinicians and patients are reluctant to participate in patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), and workflow and technology challenges further undermine data collection. 

So how do you effectively address all of these barriers to outcomes data collection? As it turns out, when poorly designed technology is part of the problem, the right technology can be the solution.

In fact, Force Therapeutics developed its digital care platform, which enables outcomes and data collection, with all of the above challenges in mind – and made design choices to resolve each.

In this article, we look at each of the challenges to PRO collection and how our platform addresses them.

Addressing Patient Reluctance through Patient Engagement

Why are patients reluctant to provide outcomes data? It’s simple: in most cases, they don’t directly benefit from filling out post-care surveys. The few patients who complete standard outcomes surveys do so out of conscientiousness. Even these patients, though, likely regard the surveys, whether paper or digital, as a chore for someone else’s benefit.

It follows then that the best way to increase patient response rates to PROMs requests is to give a benefit to patients who complete outcomes surveys.

Force Therapeutics’ digital care platform does this by making the entire platform experience beneficial to patients. Our platform is the patient’s companion throughout the care experience, offering everything from preoperative planning to virtual physical therapy classes, provider messaging, and help coping with unexpected setbacks. 

As such, patients using our platform perceive it as a physician-aligned tool that will provide crucial guidance throughout their episode of care. Reinforcing the perception that the platform is coming from the patient’s provider, our platform is white labeled, so that its content and messaging display the branding of the healthcare practice or facility where the patient receives care.

As a result, when the platform periodically asks patients to provide updates (about their pain levels, medication adherence, general symptoms, etc.), these patients are motivated to provide this information because they know it will inform their care. 

In fact, the Force Therapeutics platform analyzes these survey responses using artificial intelligence and machine learning to adjust patients’ care paths in real time, enabling patients and clinicians to respond quickly when changes are needed.

Moreover, by periodically requesting data from the patient, the platform breaks up what would otherwise be one big — and daunting — outcomes survey into smaller, more easily completed surveys.

Patients are also able to select their communication preferences (text or email) and then receive survey forms via a secure link based on their pre-stated preferences. To further improve survey completion, logging into the platform isn’t necessary to answer the survey questions.

Thanks to all of these thoughtful design choices, healthcare systems and hospitals using our platform achieve a statistically significant response rate of 85% or higher on outcomes data requests, even when collecting data as long as three years after a procedure. Some organizations using our platform have even achieved a 95% or higher response rate. 

Turning Clinician Reluctance into Clinician Enthusiasm and Health System Wins

While some studies have focused on how to motivate providers to collect PRO data, we believe it’s better to simply relieve providers from the administrative burden of collecting PROMs.

That’s why our platform automates PRO data collection by sending small data requests to patients at regular intervals, easily integrating into the patient’s day-to-day life as they recover. 

After automatically collecting outcomes information in this way, the platform feeds the data into efficient workflows that facilitate clinical care, rather than burdening clinicians with administrative work. 

For example, the platform’s interface enables clinicians to see aggregate data across their patient panel and to dive into patient-specific data. These patient-specific data help providers to determine if a patient is progressing at an acceptable rate, benchmarked against other patients in a similar demographic who have undergone the same procedure.

In addition, the platform sends alerts to providers when it changes a patient’s care path based on survey responses or when a certain response threshold is crossed.

Our platform also benefits your hospitals or health systems as an organization because the data the platform collects across your patient population enables your hospital or health system to identify positive and negative trends and redesign its care systems to either amplify beneficial developments or to correct shortcomings.

Hospitals and healthcare systems can also customize the PRO data they collect using our platform, which further helps these organizations study and refine their specific care protocols and pathways.

For example, using our platform and looking at patient medication data, one hospital redesigned its clinical protocols for patients receiving total knee and hip replacements after the data revealed that patients did not need opioids to manage their pain as much as the hospital had previously assumed.

This hospital collected more than 108,000 validated forms — including many custom-designed PROMs that were intended to drive care redesign initiatives — from approximately 12,000 hip and knee patients. Confident that this data accurately represented the complete patient population, the hospital dropped unnecessary opioids from its care paths, reducing narcotic usage by 43% in the first postoperative week.

This kind of transformative change is only possible with high levels of patient engagement and, thus, participation in outcomes reporting. If a healthcare system is not using our platform and instead relying on either paper surveys or digitized surveys, it may only collect outcomes data from half its patient population, and benchmarking an individual patient’s progress by that data is ineffective. The data is inevitably going to be skewed in ways that the healthcare system cannot adjust for or correct because those who failed to participate can belong to various subpopulations. 

Similarly, organizations cannot drive meaningful system-wide performance improvement based on insufficient data because they cannot make larger inferences with any degree of certainty.

That’s why a platform that drives a high response rate, as ours does, is critical.

The Right Technology Can Solve Your PROMs Challenges in All Practice Areas

Want to learn more about our platform and how it can help your hospital or health system achieve greater quality performance, higher reimbursement, national accreditation, and care refinement?

You can read more here and contact us.

Although Force Therapeutics is known for serving the orthopedic community, our platform can build outcomes protocols to support any episodic or longitudinal service line, including gastrointestinal care, cardiac care, and oncology.