Project Update: The use of Patient-Reported Outcomes: Who is Excluded?

A project funded as a Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) is currently being conducted in partnership between Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the College of Social Science, Institute on Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow and the Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI), University of Dundee. This project is linked to initiatives in the health care sector to use Patient Reported Outcome Measures or PROMS to monitor the quality of service delivery in clinical practice. Patient Reported Outcome Measures are questionnaires that ask patients to report on their health or functional status. In England they have mostly been used to monitor changes in outcomes after acute, hospital-based interventions (e.g. hip or knee replacement or varicose vein surgery). They can be used to monitor patients’ health and improve treatment. A pilot has been conducted in England to assess health outcomes of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well. Clearly, COPD is a major public health concern and the delivery of appropriate, safe and high quality care is critical. The routine use of PROMS, which are typically presented in the form of standardised, text-based questionnaires raises questions about the appropriateness and accessibility of these tools for people with low literacy and/or learning disabilities. These are just two population groups that may be systematically excluded from participation in quality improvement efforts. The team just published a commentary on this issue in the journal Health Expectations.

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a guide that will help professionals critically evaluate the appropriateness of PROMS and consider reasonable adjustments in the administration of PROMs when confronted with patients who might struggle because of PROMs’ format, design or complexity. The guide will be based on findings from a structured literature review as well as interviews and focus groups with patients and professionals about how PROMs could be made more accessible and easy to use.
The guide will be developed in multiple formats and disseminated to health professionals across NHS Scotland.

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SDHI will host a Webinar presented by Dr Karen Ritchie, Head of Knowledge Management at Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Deepa Jahagirdar, Research Associate at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, on 9th May at 3:30pm (please note this time is different than the one shown on the image!) to introduce the project and discuss findings. If you are interested in participating, please register with us Dr Fred Comerford fac1 @st-andrews.ac.uk

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