Using Patient-Reported Outcome Measures to Promote Value-Based Care

Employees happily looking at a laptop

Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) help clinicians understand how patients experience their illness and treatment, allowing for more patient-centered care. PROMs do this by providing actionable information about patients' health-related quality of life and health status that may not be readily available through traditional clinical assessments.

PROMs are used in a variety of healthcare settings, including clinical practice, clinical research, and clinical trials, and are particularly important in the field of mental health and substance use. Here, we’ll review specific PROMs related to behavioral health data collection, how to implement and use PROMs data to improve quality of care and meet value-based care goals, and how survey delivery using micro-interactions can help you monitor your patients’ progress and quickly evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions. 

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures and Their Use In Behavioral Health

As a behavioral health professional, you can use objective methods like psychiatry biomarkers, psychometrics including observance of general health and physical function, and psycho-social examinations to determine if treatment is working. However, those methods only provide half of the picture. The patient's quality of life and how they understand and experience their condition, symptoms, and treatments are more challenging for clinicians to assess. The use of PROMs data provides a window into the patient perspective, which is key to providing patient-centered care and improving health outcomes.

PROMs use condition-specific self-reported questionnaires and short-form surveys to illuminate patient experience measures like emotional and physical well-being. In behavioral health, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) include emotions, thoughts, and participation in social interactions and activities of daily living. 

A few specific PROMs used in behavioral health and human services (BHHS) include:

  • PHQ-9: The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 offers a trusted measure of depressive symptoms
  • GAD-7: The Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 assesses for recent patient-reported outcome data related to generalized anxiety disorder
  • CCSM-5: The DSM-5 Cross-Cutting Symptom Measure screens recent PRO data for mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, anger, mania, somatic symptoms, suicidal ideation, psychosis, sleep disorders, memory problems, repetitive behaviors and thoughts, dissociation, personality functioning, and substance abuse.
  • PROMIS ASF: The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Anxiety Short Form helps behavioral healthcare providers assess for recent anxiety and emotional distress
  • PROMIS DSF: The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Depression Short Form methodology endorses the use of PROs to evaluate recent symptoms of depression
  • AUDIT-C: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test features the use of PROs to evaluate alcohol use and frequency

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Drive Value-Based Care

Patient reported outcome measures: patients at a group therapy session

The shift toward value-based care in the United States is accelerating as all Medicare payments will be linked to value-based performance measures in the near future. We know that value-based initiatives improve quality of care, reduce hospital admissions, and boost patient outcomes

Here’s how PROMs can help you reach value-based care goals by providing healthcare services that focus care on the patient, improve clinical decision making, and support patient engagement, communication, and activation.

Promotes Patient-Centered Care

One way to encourage patient-centered care is to integrate patient-reported outcomes into clinical settings. Patient-centered care requires a healthcare environment that fosters engagement between patients and their healthcare teams. By collecting data on condition-specific outcomes during routine care, you can learn about how a patient’s health condition, symptoms, and treatments affect their quality of life, daily functioning, values, preferences, and goals.

Improves Clinical Decision-Making

Using PROMs, mental health consumers, providers, and other stakeholders can collaborate regarding clinical decisions. Clinicians can also use PROMs data to access clinical decision support and inform services and treatment selection according to the patient’s experience.

Supports Patient Activation

Only when a patient understands their condition can they become active participants in their healthcare. PROMs encourage patient and clinician communication which can expose gaps in education or health literacy that, once filled, can lead to higher levels of activation, shared decision making, and empowerment. 

PROMs: 4 Ways to Overcome Logistical Challenges

Patient reported outcome measures: excited woman looking at her laptop

PROMs have the potential not only to improve patient satisfaction and meet VBC goals but also to improve clinical outcomes through better communication and shared decision making between clinicians and patients. 

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) guidance for industry, PROM data collection should be continuous, accurate, valid, accessible, reusable, and captured in real time to best support clinical decisions, patient care, and quality improvement, among other uses. Despite the incentive to use surveys like PROMs, many organizations are held back due to logistical challenges and implementation barriers. Fortunately, there are solutions to clear these obstacles.

1. Utilize Mobile Technology

Mobile technology like ContinuumCloud’s CaredFor app lets your team communicate with patients anytime, anywhere. Patients can complete PROMs on their own devices when it’s convenient for them, thus allowing a seamless continuum of care. CaredFor complies with the regulations and oversight standards set by the government and enhances communication between clients and clinicians. 

2. Leverage Technology to Make Data-Driven Decisions

The CaredFor app also makes it easy to analyze outcomes data, which is essential for organizations to understand what’s working and what isn't. One of the biggest benefits of the app is that it enables real-time data collection and analysis. Data can be used to find trends, monitor outcomes, and make data-driven decisions that improve patient care. 

By leveraging technology, BHHS organizations can provide a better treatment experience for their patients and improve outcomes over time. Plus, a technology-driven approach allows clinicians and healthcare administrators to identify trends and gain powerful insight into the patient experience, assisting in clinical decision making and treatment planning while improving patient care outcomes.

3. Automate Custom Workflows for Timely Delivery of Surveys

Patient engagement platforms like the CaredFor app enable providers to automate the delivery of self-evaluation tools, like PROMs, in an efficient and user-friendly manner. Additionally, you can send custom surveys with patient-specific questions and respond with personal feedback. With these options, you can improve the patient experience on a case-by-case basis. 

You can also customize surveys for groups or specific patient populations. For instance, use surveys to keep alumni and family members or caregivers connected to your organization even after they leave the treatment setting.

4. Improve Survey Response Rate

Present patient surveys as micro-interactions that only take a minute or less to complete, resulting in a higher response rate. Answering a few short questions is easier than filling out extensive questionnaires. By offering a variety of micro-interactions, the CaredFor app continuously engages and supports clients in achieving their treatment goals.

It's Too Important to Ignore PROMs: Let's Get Started

Patient-reported outcome measures are questionnaires and surveys that measure the well-being of patients. PROMs are an important element in behavioral health, as they are one of the only tools that allow organizations to understand how a patient perceives their symptoms, treatment experience, and quality of life. Through the use of PROMs, behavioral health and human services (BHHS) organizations can better understand how to improve the care they provide to patients.

Questionnaires and surveys using micro-interactions are powerful tools for achieving patient-centered care, particularly in the realm of behavioral health. By using technology such as the CaredFor app, behavioral healthcare providers can significantly enhance the quality of care and meet value-based care goals. 

ContinuumCloud technologies help BHHS organizations streamline workflows and simplify both data collection and analysis, making it a hassle-free part of patient care excellence. If you're ready to elevate your practice by integrating PROMs and achieving superior patient care and improved health outcomes, reach out to us today

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