Evidence based medicine, and patient follow-up and assessment of treatment outcomes are now a fact of professional life for a variety of reasons. Having your own data, and knowing your procedural outcomes gives the physician the power to be able to make sound and clinically based decisions, and communicate with the increasing numbers of stakeholders involved in treating patients today. Below are some of the reasons you might start a data collection process for your patients.
- Inform patients – patients can now log in to web sites and score themselves, and they often arrive in the clinic armed with information from a broad variety of sources. They can also log into a number of web sites and get their own outcomes scores. However, assessing outcomes appropriately requires more than just collecting a patient derived score. Knowing your own outcomes enables you to reassure your own patients of their likely outcomes using your own data and to explain their outcome in the context of their own condition and the variables that might affect their outcome.
- Increase revenue – Outcome data leads to increased referrals. Having objective and subjective data on your success rates helps secure your reputation in the medical community among both referring doctors and patients. If you are referred patients from a primary physician they like to hear how their patients are doing. You can send them regular updates on the scores and outcomes for their patients which should lead to increased referrals.
- Review complications – Tracking outcome trends ensures that you’ll be the first to know and can act if there are complications.
- Others may already be collecting your outcomes – Insurance companies and practice administrators already collect data on details such as length of stay and complications, and increasingly are starting to collect subjective scores directly from patients. These data can be taken out of context and does not provide real insight into the complexities of a procedure, the patient variables, nor the comorbidities which may affect the outcomes. Collecting more detailed data ensures that you can understand and explain the reasons behind a positive or negative outcome. Don’t abdicate your patients’ outcomes to someone else!
- Safety of devices – Many orthopaedic devices in common use today have undergone no formal trials, they were listed by the FDA as pre 1976 amendment devices. Most have undergone changes since then which have been accepted as substantial equivalents with no further evidence of efficacy or safety being presented or required. There are many examples of approved devices in Orthopaedics which have failed in general use, causing significant morbidity to thousands of patients and cost blow outs to Health Care systems around the world. By tracking your own outcomes you don’t have to wait for a problem to arise elsewhere, or a company to finally admit that the device may have problems.
- Justify the use of new technology – Tracking your outcomes can give you the cost-benefit proof you need for funding and justifying the use of new procedures or technologies.
- Publish – The use of Socrates gives all clinicians, from the community surgeon to the academic institutions the opportunity to collect data in an organised manner, and submit the data for publication. The Socrates team can also help you with data analysis, and even help you to write your paper.
Increasing pressure from patients, hospitals, payers, and a competitive business environment will dictate that the generation of surgeons who are graduating now implement some form of ongoing assessment of their patient outcomes into their routine of patient care.
BE THE FIRST TO KNOW HOW YOUR PATIENTS ARE DOING
OWN YOUR OWN OUTCOMES