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Patient Engagement Buzz Survey: PROMs Use Is Growing, but Implementation Takes Effort

Improving clinical outcomes and enhancing patient experience are closely related health care objectives. However, while clinical outcomes lend themselves to measurement, quantifying how an individual patient experiences symptoms or a loss of function can be more challenging.

One promising approach is the use of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs). PROMs use patient questionnaires to turn symptoms and patient function losses into numerical scores, similar to the way that traditional patient experience surveys work. And once these aspects are converted into numerical values, a range of comparative analysis becomes possible.

Currently, PROMs use is fairly modest, although this is changing. According to a survey of NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members in June 2019, 38% currently use a PROMs system at their organization and 17% plan on doing so within the next 3 years. This means that more than half (55%) will be using such a system in 3 years. Respondents say the top two reasons health care organizations collect and use PROMs are to improve patient experience (60%) and improve quality metrics (52%).

Judy Baumhauer, MD, MPH, is Professor and Associate Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and also serves as Director of the Clinical BioInformatics Core coordinating and collecting patient-reported outcomes, specifically PROMIS, for the UR Medicine health care system. The University of Rochester Medical Center began using PROMIS approximately 4 years ago, starting with orthopedics.