Intake – Patients can complete questionnaires while in the waiting room or at home prior to a visit to a provider, which makes more information available to the provider at the beginning of a visit and can streamline the gathering of information and the documentation process.
Post-procedure – Patients’ answers to questionnaires can help identify patients who aren’t doing well or may be developing a problem, so the issue can be addressed before it becomes significant.
Post-discharge – Patients’ responses can help providers and care teams ensure that patients recently discharged from the hospital are progressing as expected and reduce the risk of readmission. Patients “pushing” this information to the providers reduces staff workload and overhead.
Chronic disease management – PROs for patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, etc. can help providers manage their patients between visits, know when a face-to-face evaluation may be needed, and decrease the risk of disease progression and hospitalization.
Pediatric – PROs for pediatric patients are based on age-appropriate questionnaires, which can help keep these patients and their parents engaged and the providers informed.
PROs can not only help both patients and providers with day-to-day care and management decisions, but providers can also use them to show that they deliver high quality care in areas that really matter for the patient. For example, if you can demonstrate that your patients had a lower incidence of urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery than average, you can enhance your reputation, the demand for your services, and likely the reimbursement for your work as well.
PROs have been used in Europe and elsewhere for years with widespread support by both patients and providers. As the healthcare system in the United States becomes more familiar with PROs and their benefits, hopefully we’ll see them used much more here as well.