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Health Improvement Measures – what they are and what they can tell you?

16/12/2019


Health improvement measures tell us about the impact of treatment on patient’s wellbeing. They give an indication of how well patients’ health has improved from the patient’s point of view.

Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) are the most common measure of health improvement, and they give an indication of health improvement following surgery. PROMs are collected for a range of procedures, and we are initially publishing information for hip and knee replacement.

How and why do hospitals record health outcomes?

If you are having one of these operations you should be asked to fill out a questionnaire before surgery, called a PROMs questionnaire. This will ask about your general health and wellbeing, and more specific questions related to your procedure. 

You will be asked to fill out a follow-up questionnaire, usually three or six months after your operation. The date of your follow-up questionnaire will depend on what surgery you are having done.

Your answers will be compared to see how your health has changed as a result of the treatment. This is called the ‘health gain’ and it is used to build a picture of how often patients’ health improves or worsens at different hospitals.

What can health outcomes tell you about a hospital?

When you search for a hip or knee replacement on PHIN’s website, under ‘Health Improvement’ you will see the percentage of patients who reported that their health improved, remained the same, or worsened after surgery at that hospital.

These scores give a good overall indication of how previous patients feel about their health following treatment at the hospital.

You will also be able to compare scores across hospitals, although it is important to acknowledge that some hospitals may specialise in treating complex patients, which might affect their score. Where a hospital monitors and reports PROMs, this is a good sign of their commitment to understanding and improving their services.

Your checklist:
 
  1. Check if your hospital is reporting PROMs. If they are, this is a good sign of a commitment to continual improvement.
     
  2. Compare the percentage score across different hospitals. If it is low, this could be because the hospital treats more complex or specialist patients.
     
  3. Ask questions about your hospital’s score. You need to be confident that they are the right hospital for you.