Improving Patient Outcomes: What is Patient Outcome Data?

In order to answer the question What is Patient Outcome Data? We have to first understand what patient outcome is. Patient outcome data is data that is generated from patient-reported outcomes. A patient reported outcome comes about from direct reports made by patients who have gone through a healthcare organization or received some type of care. Patient reported outcomes are unique because they are reports gotten directly from patients as opposed to other sources. Thus their accuracy is quite high and so patient-reported outcomes are highly coveted in the healthcare industry.

Improving Patient Outcome Data

What doesn’t get measured cannot be improved. This is why patient-reported outcomes are used as a measuring variable of the viability of a healthcare organization. When reported outcomes are good, healthcare organizations are sure that they are running properly and are providing high-quality care. When patient outcome data is bad or less than desirable, then they have to do something to make it better. Below we discuss ways that patient outcomes can be improved

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

By having patients take patient satisfaction surveys, you get direct and first-hand information from the patients. In addition, patient satisfaction is what drives the medical industry and thus are an important tool for quality improvement initiatives and sometimes even an overall company strategy. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is the current standard for gauging consumer satisfaction and getting consumer feedback.

The patient survey gives patients and customers the chance to evaluate the services they receive and give feedback. Also, patient assessment of the service performance in a healthcare organization directly affects their reimbursement and also their reputation. There exists a payment framework that uses an established metric for the evaluation of healthcare personnel and healthcare providers. The feedback gotten from patient satisfaction surveys is used by are provider organizations, insurers, and health agencies to benchmark performance.

Patient feedback is also gotten sometimes as early as the first two days after a patient is discharged or after a patient has received care and so it serves as real-time data that can be used for ongoing improvement strategies. It also gives the management of the organization an idea of their current quality status. The emergence of technology with healthcare industry means that there are now feedback methods enhanced by technology. Survey design is continuously redesigned and improved using technology.

The new legislation in the healthcare industry makes it quite clear that patient satisfaction is a valid measure of the performance of a healthcare organization. This does not mean that the whole healthcare industry agrees with this mode of assessment, but they have to comply anyway. Some independent research organizations have revealed that patient satisfaction is not a sufficient assessment of the quality of care.

Raising Workers Wages

There has been an age-old debate on whether increasing wages will solve problems or not. The popular vote is yes but some economist believes that increase wages would only serve to make the economy worse off. Regardless of that argument, research has shown that increasing the wages of direct care providers improves the quality of care provided. Happy nurses mean happy patients.

Unfortunately, right now in the healthcare industry, nursing assistants don’t make a good enough wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth for personal care aides will grow by 26% through 2024. When the pay of direct care workers don’t reflect their value, it leads to job dissatisfaction, high turnover rates, and inconsistent quality of care. There are ways a healthcare organization can improve on this – by improving wages. In addition, they could also provide their nurses’ benefits like paid leave, career growth opportunities, training, childcare benefits etc.

Improved Patient Diagnostics

One of the first steps in treatment is patient diagnostics. When a patient is properly diagnosed, then the right treatment can begin to be administered. With the help of technology, doctors and nurses can be able to evaluate a patient’s condition and diagnose them properly with reduced margins of error. There are advanced ways and technologies that have been made available in recent times that help with precise diagnosis. Some of them are:

  • Biomarkers
  • Enzymes
  • Gene expressions
  • Hormones
  • Proteins

With the help of these advanced genetic analyses and biomarkers, accurate diagnosis can be made which ends up reducing the cost of care and improving the quality of care. This method of providing the right diagnosis is called actionable diagnosis. Actionable diagnosis not only improves the accuracy and quality of care but also saves patients money as they don’t have to pay for unnecessary procedure, medications, or consultations.

You might ask, how is it saving patients a lot of money? Well, diagnosis errors are a lot more common than one would expect. They occur frequently and the patients are always the ones who bear the brunt of such errors. Sending a patient to do 5 tests in order to properly diagnose them when just one test would have sufficed happens a lot of times. Accurate, fast diagnoses ensure that patients receive the best possible care.