The event, which took place earlier this year, also involved Hospice UK, Kings College London, Cicely Saunders International, NHS England, Public Health England and St Christopher’s Hospice.
Commissioners and specialist palliative and end of life care providers from across England and Northern Ireland attended and heard about the positive impact outcome measures could make to both patients and services providers.
“Embedding patient reported outcome measures into clinical practice is extremely important and they can improve both end of life care and patient outcomes, as well as facilitating the delivery of patient-centred care,” said Dr Sam Kyeremateng, St Luke’s Medical Director/Consultant in Palliative Care.
“They provide a robust mechanism to assess and validate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of services and can guide service improvement and development, establish a case mix, inform staff resourcing, enhance staff development and guide research strategies.”
“The results can also be used by hospices to inform business intelligence and to influence stakeholders and commissioners, by providing an evidence base to demonstrate the value of their services and their contribution to the local health economy.”
“Going forward they could also be used to establish a benchmarking system that would enable meaningful comparison of similar organisations nationally.”
Speakers shared their personal experiences and offered practical advice on how to effectively incorporate outcome measures into practice, highlighting the need for a multi-faceted approach and investment in both staff and robust information technology systems.
The importance of engagement for staff at all levels including executives, boards and trustees was also discussed, as was the need for education in the use and benefits of outcome measures as well as the sharing of results to demonstrate their impact.
“Implementing champions to drive the initiative forward and influence staff cultures, as well as utilising Assistant Practitioners to support the collection of patient information is essential” said St Luke’s Deputy Chief Executive Judith Park.
Park added that to encourage national engagement further work was needed to increase awareness to both commissioners and service providers on the importance and power of incorporating outcome measures into clinical practice in end of life care.
She also emphasised the need for the development of resources and training to support organisations incorporating outcome measures into practice and utilising the intelligence generated.
“The development of a co-commissioning relationship focusing on the needs of a shared population that ensures better outcomes for beneficiaries is fundamental,” Judith said.
“Commissioners, hospices and the NHS need to work together, share good practices and resources and develop more integrated working.
“The use of a standard IT system across the health community would also facilitate integration of outcome measures and sharing of information.”
“This conference provided a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the impact and power of utilizing outcome measures in palliative care settings and together through integration, collaboration and communication.”
Presentations from the conference are available on the Resources section of Hospice UK’s website.