How providers can use risk-benefit assessments to improve patient outcomes

The healthcare industry must move toward a collaborative, risk-benefit approach that focuses on improving outcomes, according to a new report from Deloitte.

The professional services firm's "State of the Industry Report: Leveraging risk-benefit information to achieve better outcomes" examines the industry's need for multi-stakeholder collaboration, noting that some organizations have already developed tools to support risk-benefit discussions in healthcare.

Examples include the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which funds the development of patient-reported outcomes and decision-making tools; the Caregiver Action Network, which offers decision-making tools to educate caregivers within specific therapeutic areas; and the Food and Drug Administration's Prescription Drug User Fee Act in 2012, which sought to bring risk-benefit assessment to the drug-approval process.

However, the report argues that "this activity is somewhat fragmented" and thus falls short of offering a standardized approach. A third-party organization known as an integrator, however, may be in the best position to fill this gap because it would be face less regulation, feature less hierarchy and is better equipped than government agencies to bring together stakeholders, according to the report.

The report also makes the following recommendations for healthcare stakeholders to improve patient outcomes via risk-benefit information:

Collect data on outcomes and share with stakeholder groups. To do this, organizations should seek out innovative data management methods as well as develop interagency partnerships, according to the report. The American Hospital Association expands upon the latter by championing the role of hospital-community partnerships, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Use education, communication and decision-support tools to improve patient outcomes. This requires organizations to invest in research and programs that train providers to engage patients in risk-benefit decisions, according to the report, as well as to create incentives that encourage collaboration among stakeholders.

Engage stakeholders to assess benefits and risks. As a third-party integrator evolves, organizations should work closely with it to share best practices and lessons learned, the report states, concluding that "the adoption of an integrator paradigm can transform the patient experience and associated healthcare outcomes."

To learn more:
- check out the report (.pdf)