Bupa has welcomed news that the NHS will soon be required to routinely assess treatment outcomes. Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, BUPA’s group medical director, says the move is a crucial step in helping to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.
From April 2008, patients undergoing one of four procedures – namely hip and knee replacements, groin hernia repair and varicose vein operations – will be asked to fill in a questionnaire before and after treatment. The health service will then assess whether to extend the evaluation process to other treatments.
The routine collection of NHS patient reported outcome measures is expected to bring three main areas of benefit;
- Opportunities for continuous quality improvement and benchmarking across the public and private sector;
- Additional scope for patient and GP choice through the provision of success-based data;
- Improved information for healthcare commissioners and primary care trusts, which will help inform decisions about where to award contracts.
The use of patient reported outcomes measures helps identify the clinical benefit gained from procedures. The key point here is that we are talking about the patient’s assessment of whether an operation is successful – as opposed to the traditional clinical assessments based more on failure rates, such as incidences of death, infection and re-admissions.
Bupa has been using an outcomes measurement programme for a number of years.