The importance of monitoring treatment outcomes

Christina Rångemark Åkerman

An OECD report on wasteful spending from 2017 suggests that about one-fifth of health spending could be channelled towards better use and the numbers show that many patients are unnecessarily harmed at the point of care. It also points at the fact that many patients receive unnecessary care that makes no difference to their health outcomes or that the same benefits could be provided by using fewer resources.

People seek solutions that improve their health outcomes. Outcomes are the actual results of care, including clinical measures such as survival rates and the complications during treatment. However, the outcomes that matter most to patients are often how care affects their capabilities and quality of life. Despite already collecting vast amounts of data, today we, to a large extent, lack such information.

The most important next steps we can take to improve health care in our countries are to ask patients what matters most to them and to ask them to assess the results of their care.

A systematic measurement of standard sets of health outcomes by institutions around the world will enable global outcome comparisons and support healthcare professionals in identifying where the greatest outcomes are achieved, learning from processes supporting those outcomes, promoting dissemination of best practices and measurably improve outcomes that affect a patient’s quality of life and dignity of death.

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