BUPA calls for better measurement of healthcare outcomes

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, BUPA’s medical director will call for improved measurement of the success of surgery across UK healthcare when he speaks at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) conference later today. For the past four years, BUPA has been measuring health gain among its patients, surveying them before and three months after surgery. The NHS is planning a similar pilot but is yet to implement it.

Dr Vallance-Owen explains: “There is currently too much focus on failure measurement in our healthcare system and this must be addressed. The failures currently being measured, for example death rates and hospital readmission rates, account for a small percentage of cases. They focus everyone’s mind - healthcare professionals and patients alike - on failure.

“Failing to measure the benefit of surgery means that no-one really knows whether patients get better after treatment. This has to change so that we can really ensure we are offering patients the best care possible. I think this should be an essential element of healthcare provision nationwide.” says Dr Vallance-Owen.

BUPA Hospitals uses a questionnaire known as SF36, which asks patients 36 questions about their physical and mental wellbeing both before their operation and again three months afterwards. This means that the benefit of their surgery can be assessed. A similar shorter questionnaire, VF14, is used for patients having eye surgery. To date around 100,000 patients have completed the survey.

The conference, ‘Using Information to Improve Performance’, takes place tomorrow at The Millennium Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington, London. Further details can be obtained from the Health Service Journal conferences team on 020 7505 6044.

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