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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Improving Health Care through Measures that Capture Patient-Reported Outcomes

Caitlin Morris

Director of Affordability Initiatives

With the ongoing shift from volume to value in today’s health care environment, providers are increasingly focusing on the need to involve the patient at all points of the health care continuum. Increasingly, health insurance programs (public and private) and health care providers are adding patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures, in addition to the clinical aspects of measuring health and treatment options, to improve the quality and effectiveness of the care that patients receive. 

Patient-reported outcomes are reports of a patient’s health condition that come directly from the patient, without interpretation from clinicians and/or researchers. The advantages of using these measures are numerous. When developed effectively and implemented appropriately, patient-reported outcomes provide meaningful insights into the impact of illness and disease from the patient’s perspective. The use of these measures in emerging health care system payment and delivery models is widely expected to improve the communication among health care professionals and patients throughout all aspects of care. 

Because patient-reported outcomes measures are so important to a patient’s care and quality of life, Avalere Health is convening a broad group of health care experts, including Families USA, to participate in a multi-stakeholder dialogue series titled, “Advancing Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in New Payment and Delivery Models.” 

The two-part dialogue will identify tangible solutions to advancing the appropriate use of patient-reported outcome measures in existing and future health care system payment and delivery models. Building on our history of collaboration with diverse groups of health care stakeholders, Families USA is pleased to join Avalere Health, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, the National Quality Forum, the Pacific Business Group on Health, and the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America for this dialogue series.

How patient-reported outcomes support high-quality, comprehensive, affordable health care

Here at Families USA, patients are always at the center of our policy and advocacy efforts. Advocating for the value of measuring effective ways to improve the health care system is part of our mission to achieve high-quality, comprehensive, affordable health care for all Americans. And patient-reported outcomes measures are critical to that work.

The emerging space of patient-reported outcome measures affects an individual's quality of life, ability to complete daily activities, and experience with health care. The push to increase both the effective use of these measures in health care models and the volume of patient-focused research is critical to ensuring that our health care system can fully support patients. 

We know that there are many efforts—including instruments, tool, and surveys—that exist to examine the effect of the behaviors that affect a patient’s health (smoking, diet, and exercise are some examples). However, only one quality measure exists to address the use of these tools to improve the health outcomes of patients in public programs such as Medicare or Medicaid1. This is not enough— patient-reported outcomes measures must be incorporated across the entire spectrum of payers in order to leverage their information to improve our health care system. 

Our upcoming dialogue series will heighten the awareness and urgency of using of PRO measures in quality reporting programs, particularly those linked to payment. The roundtable will provide the opportunity for Families USA to join other stakeholders to discuss these and other related PRO issues from a policy perspective. 

More information about our two-part dialogue series on patient-reported outcomes measures

The first of two meetings will take place on May 21, where health care experts will discuss and prioritize the use of patient-reported outcomes measures. Families USA is excited to be part of the conversation aimed at addressing the policy issues associated with putting these measures into practice. 

The second meeting, planned for later this summer, will identify policy levers that will advance patient-reported outcomes measures in models of health care. We will share the outcomes from this dialogue series with the public. These conversations will help to shape the development of these measures and ensure that they are implemented effectively and well. 

For more information regarding the dialogue series and Families USA’s participation in this convening, please contact Caitlin Morris,

This blog post was produced by Families USA in conjunction with Avalere Health.

1 - Based on Avalere Analysis of Patient Reported Outcomes.

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