Definition of outcome measures in healthcare?

outcome measures in healthcare

Definition of Outcome Measures in Hospitals

Quality of healthcare is generally assessed by outcome measures. Health outcomes involve changes in the current health status of a patient or patients, attributable to an intervention. There can be different outcomes for diverse people and conditions. Measurement of health outcomes in hospitals involves carrying out different measurements such as measurement of the health status of patients before the intervention, measurement of the intervention, and measurement of health status after try and relate the change to the intervention. And through intervention often the quality of life is measured.

Outcome measures are taken to ensure better health services to patients. The primary goals are to improve safety of healthcare, ensure cost-effective treatments, more consistent decisions on treatment.

Meaning of Outcome Measures

An outcome measure in hospital is a tool which is used to access a patient’s current healthcare status. Outcome measures may help to interpret results, compare the effectiveness of the treatment given and identify variations in care. Prior to providing any intervention in the treatment of a patient, an outcome measure will provide data at the grass-root level.

What should be measured?

What is the impact of the disease on the patient’s health? And

What is the impact of the interventions done?

What should be the outcome?

After the intervention, the health status of patients should change for the better.

Why is it important to measure the outcomes?

By measuring outcomes we can make decisions about how to provide the best care to patients. Outcome measures also help to predict the patients who might benefit from a particular intervention. Through intervention, we can find out if any improvement has happened after the intervention is provided to the patient. Outcome measures can prove to be fruitful as they are important tools for guiding hospital decision making. However, effective skill set and proper understanding are required to handle outcome measurement tools.

Putting in points, the importance of measuring healthcare outcomes:

  • To improve patient’s experience of healthcare.
  • To improve the health of the population.
  • To reduce hospital staff burnout.
  • To reduce the cost of treatment and provide cost-effective treatment.

To achieve the above-mentioned goals it is important to measure healthcare outcomes.

  •  To reveal areas in which interventions could improve healthcare.
  • To identify the variations that took place in rendering care.
  • To provide valid pieces of evidence about interventions that prove to work best for a particular type of patients and under certain circumstances.
  • To compare the effectiveness of intervention made in various treatments and procedures with the planned foresighted outcome.

Outcome Measures must meet the National Standards

The Joint Commission is a regulatory body that has set national standards for quality measures. These new standards must meet the requirements, as follows:

  • Safety of patient or quality of care.
  • Healthcare outcomes should have a positive impact on the health of the patient.
  • Must meet and abide by all laws and regulations.
  • Healthcare outcomes should be accurate and readily measurable.

7 Healthcare Outcome Measures

These 7 outcome measures are:

  1. Mortality
  2. Safety of care
  3. Readmission of patients
  4. Experience of patient
  5. Effectiveness of care
  6. Timeliness of care
  7. Efficient use of Medical Imaging

There are many outcome measures, this grouping of 7 outcome measures are used to calculate the quality of care given by the hospitals.

1. Mortality:

Mortality is a very essential population health outcome measure. Hospitals should aim to provide the best care to their patients and keep their mortality rate low.

2. Safety of care:

Safety of care outcome measures tends to reveal the medical mistakes done on the part of hospitals. Skin breakdown and hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are two common outcome measures of safety of care in hospitals.

  • Skin breakdown: Skin breakdown happens when pressure decreases the blood flow to the skin. Patients with skin breakdown are at a higher risk of getting infected. In order to reduce skin breakdown, skin assessment tool should be used.
  • Hospital-acquired Infections: Hospital-acquired infections are caused by bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. Evidence-based bundles should be used to reduce hospital-acquired infections. By using analytics applications vulnerable patients can be identified and quarantined and the whole hospital should be properly sanitized to reduce the growth of these infections.

3. Readmission of patients:

Readmission regarding hospitalization of patients again, is a common outcome measure. Necessary funds get wasted in avoidable complications and unnecessary hospital readmissions. Efforts should be made to reduce hospital readmission rate by implementing care coordination programs and using analytics applications to provide accurate data in a timely manner for decision making and for monitoring performance.

4. Experience of patient:

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) fall under the category of experience of patient outcome measure. PROMs try to assess the patient’s experience and perception of their care. Patient experience can be used as criteria for improvement of work. For example, patients can be given questionnaires to fill and to complete satisfaction survey (on a scale of 1-5) regarding the care they have received. Timeliness in providing care can prove to be a sure-shot way of increasing patient’s satisfaction score and in this way, patients will feel loved and not left out.

5.  Effectiveness of care:

Effectiveness of care outcome measures lookout for essentially two things:

  • Compliance with best-practice care guidelines. And
  • Achievement of set outcomes, like reduce the hospital readmission rate.

As changes take place constantly and rapidly within health care, it is important to ensure that practice care guidelines are best so as to achieve the best care outcomes. It is important to see that hospitals comply with care guidelines and it is equally important to monitor the outcome of the treatment on the health of the patient. If care guidelines are not implemented properly, it can have a negative impact on patients. Therefore, due care needs to be given it is a matter of life.

6. Timeliness of care:

Timeliness of care outcome measures assess how timely patient access to care. Overcrowding in emergency department report increased the number of inpatient mortality because the number of patients is so much that it becomes difficult for the hospital staff to provide timely access to care of each and every patient as there are limited hospital staff members. By improving staffing pattern and early access to a qualified medical provider can help in providing required treatment to all the patients in time and this will result in reduction in inpatient mortality rate.

7. Efficient use of medical imaging:

The efficient use of medical imaging is a very important outcome measure. Medical imaging plays a key role in global healthcare system as it contributes to more cost-efficient healthcare facilities and provides an improved patient outcome.

Essentials for successful outcomes measurement

There are three essential successful outcomes measurement, namely:

1. Data Transparency:

There should be complete data transparency as patients completely rely on data while taking any decision regarding their health as data with misinformation and partial information can prove to be very dangerous from the health point of view of patient.

2. Sharing of data:

Sharing data within departments is another important component. Outcomes measurement and improvement depends on the hospital system’s ability to share the data across pharmacies, labs, staff, department, and settings.

3. Integrated care:

The healthcare system is now shifting to integrated care. Hospitals are now not just treating particular cases but whole person from head to toe. And the key component of integrated care is to help patients with transitions.

Conclusion

Healthcare systems should measure outcomes to ensure the delivery of best and timely access to care to patients. And even in the most severe condition, hospitals should make effort to provide positive outcome.