According to the World Health Organization, an outcome measure is a change in the health of an individual, group of people or population that is attributable to an intervention or series of intervention. This could include mortality rate, readmission, patient experience, etc. Healthcare organizations constantly seek to meet and improve quality and costs targets. These outcome measures are frequently reported to the government, investors, and quality auditing organizations that specialize in hospital safety and quality performance. This process ensures a maintenance and increases in transparency among health care providers in order to reduce unwanted outcomes such as mortality, accidents and human errors in hospitals. In addition to the prevention of these negative outcomes, quality measures also help, improve patient experience of care, improve the health of populations and reduce the per capita cost of healthcare. The Examples of Outcomes Measures are:
- Mortality (22%)
- Safety of care (22%)
- Readmissions (22%)
- Patient experience (22%)
- Effectiveness of care (4%)
- Timeliness of care (4%)
- Efficient use of medical imaging (4%)
For example, Age-specific mortality rate: this measures the mortality of a specific age group. Sex-specific mortality rate measures the mortality of people of a particular gender. I.e all the people who died of that particular sex over all the people of that particular sex. Disease-specific mortality rate: this measures the mortality of people with a particular disease, but this time over all people in the population. Case-fatality rates: look at the mortality of people dying from a disease over all the people who have that disease. case-fatality measures the severity of that disease Proportionate mortality: compares the mortality of one cause to all other causes, the numerator is death from a particular cause of death from all possible causes.
The healthcare industry is on a journey to outcomes transparency. Patients want outcomes data so they can make educated decisions about their healthcare. Quality reporting organizations, such as The LeapFrog Group, evaluate and report U.S. hospital safety and quality performance. Patients want reassurance they’re receiving the best care for the lowest cost—publicly reported outcomes help.
The industry is also shifting toward integrated care—we aren’t just treating a hip anymore; we’re treating the whole person. A key component of integrated care is helping patients with transitions; easing patient transitions from the ER, to surgery, to inpatient care, to rehab, and, ultimately, back to a steady, normal state. Transitional points of care are critical for managing consistency of care and providing the right care in the right setting at the lowest cost.Interoperability: Sharing data between departments within an integrated system is another important component. Outcomes measurement and improvement depends on the system’s ability to share data across clinicians, labs, hospitals, pharmacies, and other staff, departments, and settings. EDWs improve interoperability by integrating data and providing a single source of truth. Improving critical care transitions through integrated care and seamlessly exchanging data through interoperability are essential ingredients for better outcomes measurement. For example, as heart failure patients are discharged (depending on the risk stratification), it’s critical for them to see a cardiologist or primary care physician as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they are discharged and have a higher risk of being readmitted. While focusing on achieving outcome measurement improvements, it’s also important to focus on process measurement. If health systems are too focused on an outcome, then they lose sight of the process. Process measures capture provider productivity and adherence to standards of recommended care. For example, if a health system wants to reduce the incidence of skin breakdown, then it might implement the process measure of performing a risk assessment for reducing pressure ulcer risk in all the appropriate units in the hospital.