Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

First national conference on healthcare outcomes to promote use of outcomes data in healthcare development

20 February 2018

Conference to debate importance of patient experienced outcomes 

Ireland’s first national conference on healthcare outcomes will take place today. Hosted by the Healthcare Outcomes Research Centre at RCSI and supported by Novartis, the conference will facilitate a discussion about the role of healthcare outcomes data in the development and implementation of health policy. The conference also aims to stimulate a debate about the relevance of patients’ experience of the outcome of their treatment and how that experience should form part of the decision-making process for clinicians and policy-makers. 

According to Professor Jan Sorensen, Director of the Healthcare Research Outcomes Centre at RCSI, “Five years ago there was little discussion in Ireland about the importance of healthcare outcomes data in policy development. This is changing, however, and the recently published report of Major Trauma Audit report compiled by the National Office of Clinical Audit recommended that patient-reported outcome measures should form part of future audits. We would like to see the use of patient-reported outcomes data becoming an integral part of decision-making in every part of the health service, resulting in more efficient delivery of health services and better outcomes for patients.”

Prof Sorensen said that “every day clinicians make difficult decisions about the most clinically effective course of treatment for their patients, and the principle consideration should always be whether the treatment brings sufficient benefit to the patient. This forces clinicians to also think about the impact of the treatment on the quality of their patients’ lives. Surgical treatment for prostate cancer will often successfully remove the cancer, but the consequences of the treatment can have significant impact on the patient’s quality of life, for example. 

In the same way, major policy decisions about healthcare provision should consider many factors, including evidence on improvement of patient outcomes and the cost of providing care. Equally important, though, is the broader consequences of these decisions on patients and their lives. The decision to centralise cancer services, for example, has improved clinical outcomes but may impose longer travel distance to treatment. It is important, therefore, to consider the balance between efficient care delivery and easy access to care”. 

“Today’s conference is about giving the many healthcare stakeholders- clinicians, patients, and policy-makers,-an opportunity to think about the role patient experienced outcomes should have in the future healthcare policy development and decision-making”, added Prof Sorensen. 

Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director, Novartis stated, “We are delighted to support Ireland’s first conference on healthcare outcomes.  Healthcare systems around the world are facing growing demands, which, if unaddressed, could double health spend by 2060, making it unsustainable.  Novartis believes a value-based approach is the best way to meet the shared goal of affordable access to healthcare, while improving patient outcomes.  We are committed to a focus on health outcomes, and have begun to lead this change, through a number of pilots around the world, including Ireland”.

The Healthcare Outcomes Research Centre at RCSI is a leading Irish research centre dedicated to the development and dissemination of evidence-based research on healthcare outcomes that will inform healthcare policy and improve patient outcomes. The programme for today’s conference can be read here.