A 10 Step Guide to spearheading an outcomes program

10 Step Guide to: Spearheading and Outcomes Program

How to get started with Patient-Reported Outcome Program

In today’s healthcare market creating a patient reported outcome program is quickly transitioning from nice to have, to need to have. The challenge, however, is actually implementing a data collection process. It is a long and laborious process to get off the ground. Often times we talk to people who have been working on it for years and are still not collecting much data. Here’s the good news- there is a proven and reliable system to help make the entire process a whole lot less painful.

Here at CODE, we talk to clinicians and administrators from organizations of all shapes and sizes that are working on implementing a sustainable and reliable system for prospectively collecting outcome data. Building an outcomes program is very similar to building a house. Even though it may be more fun to pick out your paint colors, it is certainly not the best place to start. When spearheading an outcomes program, the first place that most people start is researching the PRO tools and determining how they want to use all the fabulous data that will be at their fingertips. Even though this may also be the most fun part, it’s much like picking out paint colors, not the best place to start.

The first step when building a home is consulting with a contractor to help you determine the proper steps involved. CODE can be that ‘contractor’ for your outcomes program. We have a step-by-step process that helps you quickly and efficiently navigate through the process, from idea to implementation and beyond.

There are 2 fundamental truths that are important to identify:

  1. Resources – whether it is time, money, or a combination of both, implementing an outcome data program takes resources. There is no getting around that part of the program.
  2. Time – It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Once you start collecting outcome data, it takes years before you have enough data to be meaningful. There is nothing that can be done to speed up the process. What you can do, however, is start collecting the data as soon as possible.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about how to get your program off the ground. Here are the 10 steps, listed in chronological order, for spearheading an outcomes program:

  • Establish Program Goals
  • Determine Budget
  • Identify Decision Makers
  • Identify Influencers: Advocates and Advocacies
  • Project Approval
  • Design Data Collection Program
  • Contracting- negotiations and service agreement
  • Implementation
  • Go Live
  • Ongoing evaluation

It’s important that you understand the rationale behind the order of the steps. You can dive into the details associated with each step in our PRO Guide. While it may seem counterintuitive, there is a method to the madness, and getting off course can lead to frustration and setbacks. Let’s go back to the analogy of building a house… Let’s say you are considering building a new house. For the sake of this example, let’s say your family is expanding and you are growing out of your current home, so your goal is to build a larger home.

Once you know how much additional space you’d like to have, you start looking at the financial aspects of the change so you can determine the budget. This is often more complicated than just a Google search. There are additional factors that come into play, such as the equity of your current home, current interest rates, availability of skilled labor, etc. Next, you need to identify the decision makers. As a member of a family, chances are that moving forward with something as big as moving to another house is not going to be a ‘solo’ decision. In this example, let’s say that your spouse and your bank lender are the ultimate decision makers. You know your spouse and financial situation better than anyone, so once you’ve identified the decision makers, start formulating a plan on how to present your plan in a way that you feel will best ‘sell’ your idea.

Remember, your goals and the decision maker’s goals can be very different. This is not a bad thing by any means, but an important factor when it comes to how to present the information in a way that gets their buy-in. Identifying influencers is very valuable, whether they are advocates or potential advocacies. As a member of a family, everyone will be impacted and most will have an opinion on the matter. Whether it’s a teenager who doesn’t want to move schools, a grade school kid who’s dreamed of having their own room, or a grandparent who can’t bear the idea of living more than a block away from the grandchildren… influencers can be a valuable asset in speeding up the process or big barrier that slows things down.

Now that you have done all the research, you are armed with all the necessary information to start working on getting the project approved by the decision-makers. Once you have the project approved, it’s time to put the plan into action by hiring an architect to help design a house that works within your budget and timeline and aligns with your overall goals. Once the design has been developed and approved to meet your goals, you have to find a contractor to turn the blueprints into reality. In the outcome program world, the architect and the contractor roles are taken up by a 3rd party vendor. Be careful you can get both roles filled by your choice or you may end up with a great blueprint and no house, a perfect selection of PRO tools and administration timeline with a low capture rate, or a big house that doesn’t meet your needs, the high capture rate of information that doesn’t help your organization.

Once you’ve selected your contractor, you can start moving forward with all the Service agreement paperwork that is a necessary evil. As soon as that is out of the way, you are ready to implement your plan. There are many steps associated with this implementation phase, all of which have been outlined by you and the contractor in the design phase. Once completed, it’s time for the big ‘go live’ day where you and your family finally get to move into your new house. Then it’s all about optimizing your new digs, which is the ongoing process of making your new house into a home.

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Need more help with your PRO related questions? CODE can help! Schedule a call with a CODE expert today to get you on your way to better harnessing your patient reported outcomes.