How to Use Measure Outcomes in Healthcare

September 9, 2017

Introduction

Today there is a strong impetus to hold people accountable for their performance, whether good or bad.  This holds true for healthcare providers, including doctors.

Beyond assessing professional performance, the concept of “how to use measure outcomes in healthcare” can also be applied to the evaluation of institutions, determining whether new laws are working (or failing), assessing the efficacy of treatment plans, helping to determine how well health promotion plans are working, etc.

Unfortunately, the field of assessment, especially in regards to identifying practical ways to implement conclusions and discoveries derived from the gleaned (and studied) data, is still much in need of growth and development.  In spite of this immaturity, though, measured outcomes derived from Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMs), surveys, case studies,  SWOT analyses, questionnaires, etc., can be useful tools when conducting assessments, making decisions and establishing policies in healthcare.

In fact, here are 5 examples that illustrate how to use measure outcomes in healthcare:

The Value of Customer Loyalty

Although you can argue that medicine is just another type of “business,” healthcare providers have traditionally not viewed themselves in that manner; more importantly, assessing healthcare performance isn’t comparable to, say, assessing a manufacturing facility.  The measured outcomes in healthcare are inherently more complicated, more difficult to gather and as if those things were not enough of a challenge, less clear as to how to manage and implement.

One tool that can help get around these obstacles, though, are Net Promoter Scores (NPS).  Simply put, these are measures of clients’ advocacy or loyalty to healthcare providers, whether it be professionals or institutions.  The idea is that persons who have received competent, effective and safe medical care will help promote the entities that provided the excellent care.  Healthcare providers, therefore, who garner a significant number of “promoters,” therefore, are more than likely doing a great job.

How Well Patients Adhere to Treatment Plans

Yet another practical, helpful use of measured outcomes is how well patients are adhering to proposed or recommended treatment plans.  This can be especially important for people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity diseases, cancer, etc.

The best assessment tests would not be able to explain or overcome the poor measured outcomes that would be rendered by participants of a study that were not following prescribed treatment plans well, if at all.  Such negative measured outcomes, in other words, would incorrectly be attributed to poor performance by the healthcare providers when in fact that simply wasn’t the case.

Assessing Efficacy of New Laws

Measured outcomes from health studies, surveys, PROMs, etc., may also be used to effectively assess a law passed or policy enacted at the local or federal level.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA), for example, was passed with a few ambitious goals in mind.

Although there seem to be differences of opinion as to whether any of those goals were met, the more important point that maybe wasn’t considered enough (if at all) was whether the right types of goals were set when the law was passed.  The best laws and policies for healthcare, anyone can cogently argue, may be the ones that are based on (and set goals in reference to) specifically targeted measured health outcomes.

Quantifying Abstract Concepts

Yet another huge way that measured outcomes may be beneficially employed in healthcare is by finding ways to quantify concepts and circumstances that appear to be unquantifiable.  How does one, for example, quantify a doctor’s bedside manners, whether nurses need to smile more often when doing their jobs, how and whether patient attitude affects medical, etc.

The science of outcomes measurement, though, can provide practical ways to approach these challenges in a way that benefits both patients and providers, provided that no one peremptorily decides to simply not delve into or utilize this less objective type of information.  Fortunately, it has already been established that, yes, there is a useful place for subjective information in the world of science—more specifically, healthcare.

Decision-Making by Third Party Participators

Most people acknowledge that healthcare providers and patients are the two most important factors when it comes to health-related measured outcomes.  But what about those persons playing a role peripherally in the healthcare system?

These people can include lawmakers, medical school professors, nursing school teachers, business owners that sell to healthcare facilities, etc.  These people also can benefit from the measured outcomes of health promotions programs, new treatment plans and new health-related laws and policies—to be more specific, they can use such information in developing their own strategies and plans, hopefully leading to better symbiotic relationships.

Conclusion

So tackling the issue of How to Use Measure Outcomes in Healthcare, without question measured outcomes in healthcare can be useful in a rich variety of ways.  Maybe those “ways” are at this point nebulous to some people simply because accepting change is something they don’t embrace easily.  Nevertheless, great changes are coming to healthcare and the people who will best survive or, better yet, thrive within these changes are those persons that continuously find ways to put measured health outcomes to good “use.”