The COVID-19 pandemic has had a colossal global impact on population health and healthcare delivery. We know rates of burnout amongst clinicians have never been higher, mental health impacts continue high cause for concern, and healthcare organizations continue to address financial and operational setbacks.
Researchers across the globe are attempting to comprehensively identify and define impacts from the pandemic and, for that cause, patient-reported outcomes are an essential tool.
As COVID-19 cases decline, healthcare organizations are stressing the importance of receiving care that was neglected during the pandemic – particularly wellness appointments and preventive screenings.
Research shows there was a clear reduction in the delivery of preventive care services over the last two years and, because of this, there is reason to fear increase rates of mortality and delayed diagnosis.
To understand and identify patients at increased risk, patient-reported outcome collection is a vital tool.
Healthcare organizations can scalably collect health information from their patient populations to not only assess current health status and risk, but also to encourage patients follow through with neglected appointments.
And, at a time when healthcare organizations are stretched thin, the ability for a platform to automate the outreach, collection, and analysis of patient-reported outcome data is extremely valuable.
In addition to supporting population health management, patient-reported outcomes data can also be leveraged to understand the impacts of the pandemic on care delivery.
The pandemic required healthcare organizations to innovate at a rapid pace and strongly pursue methods of care delivery, such as telehealth, that would have taken much longer to establish. As an industry, we know very little about the impact of this rapid innovation. Has it been helpful? Harmful? What should the industry maintain or pursue further? What processes, if any, should healthcare organizations abandon?
Enter the role of patient-reported outcomes data.
As David Lansky of Health Affairs describes, “As many provider organizations adapt to the challenges created by the virus, we need a measurement system that can detect the benefits or harms of emerging care models, such as increased use of telehealth services or the introduction of non-traditional providers. This work will require the general use of standardized PROMs measures to evaluate which payment, delivery system, or social innovations actually improve human health.”
Additionally, Lansky also importantly identifies that PROMs data relative to race, ethnicity, and language can help assess whether certain innovations have helped or aggravated disparities in outcomes across patient populations.
As discussed, patient-reported outcomes data is essential to evaluate impacts of the pandemic on population health and care delivery.
Identifying how to collect and analyze outcomes data, however, can be a challenge for health leaders.
The PatientIQ white paper, “Build vs Buy: Launching an Integrated Patient-Reported Outcomes Program,” outlines key considerations for healthcare organizations.