In the beginning of this week I had an opportunity to participate in the ICHOM’s fourth conference organized at the University College London. During these days a line of distinguished speakers, including Maggie De Block (Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Belgium), Michael E. Porter (The Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School) and Hartwig Huland (Founder and Medical Director of Martini-Klinik), gave their insights on why outcomes matter in health care and why outcome follow-up is important from patients’ perspective. Sessions also provided insights on the processes of integrating outcome follow-up into the care providers’ workflow.
Speakers highlighted the importance of following the outcomes of treatments. In several hospitals around the world, systematic follow-up has lead to the improved overall quality of care. Public reporting of hospital outcomes has also improved the overall quality results at national registries. Despite the proven effects, one of the key take-aways of the conference was that integrating outcome follow-up into an organisation’s way of treating patients is not simple. But it is definitely not impossible. The message of the world-leading hospitals pioneering in systematic outcome follow-up was clear: Great results can be obtained with patient-reported outcome measurement, but it’s never easy in the beginning.
Panel discussion at ICHOM’s conference
The presentations and panel discussions gave many ideas on how to successfully implement new ways of following treatment outcomes. Integrating outcome follow-up and patient-reported outcome measurement into the care providers’ workflow requires co-operation of several stakeholders within an organization – for instance managerial-, clinical-, IT-, and financial resources are needed. Professor Michael E. Porter, the author of the famous ’Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results’, concluded his presentation with a strong statement: Outcome measurement is the single most important thing. If we measure outcomes, we will create an unstoppable force to reorganize health care and the ways how patients are treated.
Besides idea-provoking presentations, the best part of the conference was networking with other attendees. It was inspiring to witness over 800 opinion leaders from over 35 countries to gather to London to discuss the future of value-based health care, where the costs of treatments are justified by the outcomes of treatments. I am confident that many of the participants are now considering how to implement outcome follow-up in their hospitals. In only 4 years ICHOM has been able to develop its global Standard Sets for outcome follow-up to cover 45% of the world’s disease burden. During this time ICHOM has also been able to gather opinion leaders together to discuss how patients should be treated in the future, and how the treatment outcomes should be followed both from the clinic’s and the patient’s perspective.
All of this predicts a change towards more patient-centric, outcome-driven healthcare. And this is excellent news for patients in the future.