Use patient-generated data to improve care outcomes

By Matt Kuhrt

Soliciting health data from patients can be a winning strategy for improving doctor-patient communication and generating better patient engagement, according to an article from Kaiser Health News (KHN).

While shared decision-making and patient-centered care have generated interest for some time, a recent study published in Health Affairs looks at the state of physicians' ability to collect patient-generated data in an actionable format. Long used in research settings, clinical practices have traditionally relied on physical exams and lab results to guide care planning, according to the KHN report.

The impetus for change comes in part from new policies and reimbursement rules. For example, KHN notes that CMS recently rolled out a program for doctors who collect patient-reported outcomes as part of follow-up care for knee and hip replacement surgeries.

The ongoing development of online data tracking tools, such as the Orchestra Project developed by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, also give providers and patients an opportunity to agree on what they want to measure. The ability to cooperate increases patient engagement, which generates a positive feedback loop, keeping patients engaged as they track tangible evidence of the ongoing effectiveness of their care plan in between visits, as FiercePracticeManagement has previously reported.

Patricia Franklin, M.D., a coauthor of the Health Affairs study, helped to implement a project which tracked pain and joint function in patients undergoing knee and hip replacements. In her eyes, the patient-reported outcomes generated by the project represented a win-win: "Patients were pleased because they saw that their assessment of their pain and function was part of the process," she told KHN. Furthermore, surgeons appreciated the pre- and post-surgery data provided by the patients.

To learn more:
- read the article 
- check out the study