This article is the first in a series of Executive Guest Posts by Steve Wood, PhD, OBERD Senior Vice President – Strategic Partnerships

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Collecting and Sharing Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) with patients can improve patient satisfaction and outcomes and grow the surgical practice through more and more wide-spread positive patient reviews.

In Part 1 of this Blog we highlighted the relationship between physicians who collect and share PRO data with their patients and the patient proclivity to rate their physicians higher in satisfaction reviews. This finding was reinforced in an MGMA article that provided two very telling points for procedure-oriented physicians, they were: “Positive patient experience emerges when a patient is engaged with useful knowledge about his or her own condition” and “Word of mouth can make or break a physician’s office with patients and referral sources.”

In this part of the article we’ll address how practices can use PRO survey data to achieve higher patient ratings and better outcomes that will drive greater practice success.


Collecting PRO Data

I recently came across an article that confirmed a long-standing hypothesis of mine that has not received adequate research attention. The article concluded that patients who report that their PRO data was discussed during a physician visit resulted in higher ratings for certain physician interactions.

 

Why Collect Patient Reported Outcome Data?

A recent Case Study1 published by Freel, Bellon and Hammer observed that patients who reported physician discussions using their PRO responses during office visits reported significantly better ratings of physician communication and shared decision making.

This finding has significant implications for better patient outcomes and surgical practice growth. Healthcare is one of the most amenable industries to word-of-mouth marketing. It is clear that patients will tell others in their family and friend groups about a positive experience with a physician and any surgical procedure. In many cases when patients are asked about how they chose a surgeon, they will mention a friend or family member’s experience as an influencing element. And patients are often proactive in this activity and tend to be quick to opine if asked by others about their experience. Interestingly, if patients have a less than satisfying experience, they tend to be even more aggressive with their opinions and the rule-of-thumb is that dissatisfied customers tend to tell others about a negative experience on a 11:1 ratio to those who share a positive experience. (Ouch!).

Importantly, patients are increasingly sharing their views about provider experience on social media and other Internet resources such as GOOGLE, Healthgrades, Yelp, etc. This affords wide-reaching opportunities, viewed by literally millions of potential patients, to praise or punish providers based on the patient’s view of their experience and outcomes. So, doing all that is reasonably possible to create a positive patient experience is of significant benefit to the practice.

As relatively little research has been conducted on this subject and to further investigate the relationship between PRO data and patient satisfaction, I performed a correlation analysis involving more than 2,000 patients who had experienced total knee reconstruction. I looked at the association between both the Total KOOS score and KOOS Jr. outcomes score and the patient’s willingness to recommend their surgeon and select that surgeon again if another surgery of similar nature was required. In both cases the correlation between PRO outcomes scores and satisfaction/recommendation scores were very significantly positive (at the P < .01 level).

Thus, PRO data (and the outcomes it represents) can be an important tool for physicians to use in communications with patients and shared decision-making. One important result will likely be growing their practice through patients’ personal and digital communications.

PART 2 of this Blog will address how sharing PRO data with patients can be used to improve their physician reviews and patient outcomes.

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