Incorporating brief, validated PRO measures into clinical care to assess outcomes, such as changes in symptoms, emotional health and wellbeing, and physical and social functioning, is essential to high-quality healthcare. Most PRO data are collected via pen and paper, which is difficult for patients, providers, and researchers to access and use. While some EHRs capture structured PROs, this information is not commonly collected and integrated at the point of care. AHRQ is at the forefront of funding innovative research to collect and use PROs leveraging health IT to improve patient care and wellbeing, as well as informing how to scale and spread existing health IT models. The following newly funded research incorporate PROs:
Dr. Elsbeth Kalenderian and her research team at the University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry are investigating the use of an app that collects a patient’s pain experience with the goal of reducing unnecessary opioid use in patients after dental surgery.
Dr. Jinoos Yazdany at the University of California in San Francisco is leading research to extract PROs documented in clinical notes using natural language processing. The goal of the research is to unlock the potential of the information in clinical notes and use that information to create an evidence-based clinical learning network to support the participation of public hospital systems in PRO measurement and improvement efforts. Another goal is to make care more patient-centered through the development of tools that facilitate shared decision making and monitoring of the care and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The AHRQ Step Up App Challenge encouraged participants to create apps that advanced the collection of standardized PRO data in ambulatory care settings. Participants used draft technical specifications employing the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Standards to develop user-friendly apps that enable PRO data to move between IT systems both within and across different providers. Research led by MedStar Health is modifying and pilot testing an application that incorporated the draft FHIR technical specifications to enable broader PRO data sharing for clinical and research purposes. In addition, the team will pilot test the winning app from the aforementioned Step Up App Challenge.