A guide to health improvement and how you can use this information to inform discussions with your consultant.
Health improvement measures tell us about the impact of treatment from the patient perspective. They give an indication of how well patients’ health has improved (known as health outcomes) following treatment.
Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) are the most common measure of health improvement, and are collected for a range of procedures. Currently, this information is only available for cataract surgery, hip and knee procedures, although it will be available for other procedures in the future.
How and why do hospitals record health improvement?
If you are having an operation you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire before your surgery. 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, depending on your what operation you are having.
Your answers will be compared to see how your health has changed as a result of the treatment. Responses are added together for all patients that completed their questionnaires and are used to build a picture of how often patients’ health improves or worsens at your hospital.
What can health improvement tell you about a hospital?
When you search for cataract surgery or a hip or knee replacement, 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. (The three scores normally add up to 100% as expected, but the figures are rounded to the nearest whole number and this can occasionally lead to a total of 99% or 101%.)
These scores give a good overall indication of how previous patients felt about their health following treatment at the hospital. A higher score shows that more patients felt their health improved following treatment. A lower score shows that fewer patients felt their health improved, however, it is important to acknowledge that some hospitals may specialise in treating complex patients, which might affect their score.
If a hospital monitors and reports PROMs, this is a good sign of their commitment to understanding and improving their services. If a hospital does not have a health improvement score for cataract surgery, hip or knee replacements, you should raise this with them and seek reassurance of their commitment to quality improvement.
Your health improvement checklist
- Check if your hospital is reporting health improvement. If they are, this is a good sign of a commitment to continual improvement.
- Compare the percentage score across different hospitals. If it is low, this could be because the hospital treats more complex or specialist patients.
- Ask questions about your hospital’s score. You need to be confident that they are the right hospital for you.