A Quick Guide to Patient-Reported Outcome Measures for Bariatric Surgery

An example of patient-reported outcome measures in surgery

An estimated 38% of health care organizations currently use Patient-Reported Outcome Measures “PROMs” and 17% more plan to use them within the next three years.

While bariatric surgery PROMs haven’t yet become mainstream, evolving technology is changing that.

Patient-reported outcome measures in bariatric surgery centers would provide more long-term follow-up data and ensure you have better understanding of how your services have improved a patient’s health from their perspective.  .

Well-designed PROMs improve clinical decision-making and provide key insights that enable quality improvements. Patient-reported data also helps health care organizations prove the value of their programs to patients, payers, and referral partners.

This quick guide to patient-reported outcomes in surgery provides key considerations for organizations creating or enhancing their PROM systems.

Key Takeaways

Some of the key takeaways you’ll find in this article:

  • Use targeted metrics that align with the patient, provider, and program goals.
  • Engage patients to become active participants in their care. 
  • Emphasize person-focused care strategies to improve patient-provider relationships.
  • Leverage technology to make data collection simple and cost-effective.
  • Use data in a meaningful way. 

What Are Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)?

Patient-reported outcome measures are standardized, validated survey instruments that enable patients to share post-surgical data with physicians and program leadership teams.

PROMs directly measure patient experiences, providing valuable insights about each patient’s unique care journey.

As regulations continue to evolve, hospitals and surgical clinics must help patients achieve positive outcomes. 

Why PROMs Are Essential in Health Care

PROMs have been in use since the 1970s but didn’t gain real momentum until 2000, when patient-centered care became a focus. 

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have established guidelines to support health care providers in designing and using PROMs to improve quality care measures.

PROMs assist providers and organizations with:  

  • Increasing patient engagement
  • Detecting complications earlier
  • Identifying process improvement opportunities
  • Assessing the effectiveness of treatments and procedures
  • Encouraging patient-provider communication
  • Demonstrating the value of programs
  • Reducing costs

PROMs collect data using surveys or questionnaires that allow patients to share their real-life experiences.

Patient-reported data is subjective, representing each patient’s unique experience over their health care journey. For this reason, PROMs have become valuable patient satisfaction measurement tools.

Design Elements of PROMs

Consider the following 4 key elements when designing an effective patient-reported outcome system: 

1. Targeted Metrics

Capturing relevant data is essential for quality improvement, and metrics are the foundational elements of PROMs. Metrics should align with the patient, provider, and program goals. 

While PROMs do provide information about patient perceptions and experiences, they do not necessarily identify causes. For this reason, survey tools should include a wide range of data points. 

PROMs that include both open-ended and closed-ended questions allow care teams to capture a broad perspectives. Open-ended questions offer qualitative insights about each patient’s unique experience, while closed-ended questions provide quantitative data to analyze across wider patient populations.

Examples of patient-reported outcomes that specifically relate to bariatric surgery:  

  • Bowel symptoms
  • Attitudes
  • Emotions 
  • Movement/mobility
  • Eating behaviors
  • Self-esteem
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Quality of life
  • Weight 

Hospital leadership teams responsible for designing and monitoring PROMs should regularly reassess the effectiveness of the targeted metrics and make enhancements as programs evolve and as they learn from previously collected PROMs. 

2. Patient Engagement

Engaged and prepared patients are more likely to follow post-surgical guidelines, which leads to better outcomes.

Patient enablement platforms help connect patients, providers, and organizational leadership in a meaningful way, making it easier to manage data and improve care.

PROMs give providers insights into what’s most important to their patients, which improves rapport and strengthens patient-provider relationships.

When patients collect their own data, they can see connections between their behaviors and outcomes more easily. This may lead to positive behavior changes which reduce medical complications and unnecessary costs.

Giving patients a sense of control over their care encourages them to become active participants in their health. Organizations should provide patients with the tools necessary to become actively involved in their care. 

An example of a PROM in surgery
https://www.bjaed.org/action/showPdf?pii=S2058-5349%2817%2930058-6

3. Patient-Focused Care

Patient-focused care is based on a more holistic view of health care. While patient-centered care has traditionally focused on patient-provider interactions, person-focused care involves the accumulated knowledge of a patient over their lifetime. 

Patient feedback is vital for person-focused care because it offers deeper insights into patient values, life circumstances, and unique health risks.

Within a person-focused care framework, PROMs encourage patients and providers to establish more effective forms of communication, which strengthens rapport and trust.

Health care organizations can use PROMs to support person-focused care models and strengthen patient-provider partnerships.

4. Technology

Today, patients expect to use innovative technology throughout their bariatric care journey

While it is possible to collect PROs through paper surveys, digital formats are easier and more efficient. As virtual care, patient portals, and digital therapeutics become more common, technology makes it easier for patients to monitor their health. 

In many cases, organizations may be able to leverage existing technology without adding extraordinary costs. For example, simple electronic PRO surveys are cost-effective for clinics to obtain vital information about patient experiences.  

Technology also makes it possible to: 

  • Administer pre-and post-surgical surveys
  • Automate patient reminders
  • Prepare and submit data to regulatory agencies
  • Analyze survey results

Digital data collection provides instantaneous feedback, enabling providers to make treatment changes in real-time.  

Operational leadership should leverage technology to make data collection simple and cost-effective.

An example of patient-reported outcome measures in surgery
Image Source: https://medium.com/ubxd/promenade-using-patient-reported-outcome-measures-proms-to-keep-patients-safe-e1b311366595

5. Quality Improvement

Health care organizations already capture large volumes of data as part of their quality measures, but unless the data gets applied, it doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of care.

Organizations routinely use PROMs to improve care workflows, patient satisfaction, and patient-provider communication. 

When providers interpret patient data, they should also provide feedback in a respectful, non-judgmental way. If patients fear criticism and embarrassment, they may not record accurate results.

Ideally, patient-reported outcome instruments should guide care conversations between patients and providers. When patients feel comfortable reporting outcomes, providers can address complications sooner to reduce complications and improve patient outcomes.

Improving Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Bariatric Surgery 

PROMs are essential for the long-term success of bariatric surgery programs. 

When used as an evidence-based decision-making tool, PROMs effectively and efficiently improve patient engagement, communication, care, and long-term outcomes.

Technology can help lower costs by simplifying the process of collecting and managing patient-reported outcome measures, and in bariatric surgery centers, it would provide more long-term follow-up data, allowing your center to easily measure and report outcomes.

Wellbe’s automated patient enablement platform makes it easier for providers and health care organizations to manage patient-reported outcome measures (as well as pipeline health) —with a positive return on investment.

Learn more about how Wellbe’s digital solutions can help you manage your PROMs. Contact us or call at 1-800-960-4118.

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