What if you could only ask one question of the patient during a clinic visit? Further, suppose the patient’s biggest concern can pragmatically be incorporated into routine clinical care and clinical pathways that can address the patient’s single biggest concern can be identified. If the principal concern can be dealt with efficiently at each visit through key stakeholder case management, positive outcomes should result. Therefore, motivated by the need for patient-centered health care visits, the Beacon electronic patient-reported outcomes (PRO) quality of life (QOL) tool was developed.
Central to the tool is that at each health care visit, the patient’s biggest concern is electronically communicated to the health care team. Therefore, the tool can help catalyze important discussions between the health care team and the patient, perhaps on topics that would not have been discussed otherwise at a routine visit. In recognition of the community of resources needed to provide comprehensive care, the tool generates clinical pathways or actions that can be pursued to address the patient’s biggest concern. The concern is efficiently triaged such that members of the health care community with appropriate expertise and resources are identified to address and manage that single biggest concern signaled by the patient. A report, which can be uploaded into the patient’s medical chart, is created and provides a list of resources for a case manager to assist the patient and contains graphical presentations of the patient’s QOL and a history of prior concerns. The report also labels potentially significant changes in QOL.
The tool, which has been applied successfully in several health conditions, acts as a beacon to health care providers so that a patient’s self-reported concern can be consistently and effectively integrated into their care.
It is impractical to try to deal with every patient concern in every visit. The key to the Beacon tool is that at each visit the patient’s biggest concern is identified, clinical pathways indicated, and resources efficiently matched to address the patient’s biggest concern.