Patient-reported outcome measures and the optometrist

What patients really care about is the impact of illness on their wellbeing, and their ability to play an active role in society. So how can the patient experience be measured? This article gives an overview, making reference to eye health where possible.

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Abstract

Optometry practices are patient-centred in the care they provide. From the enquiry by the receptionist of ‘how are you?’ to the optometrist’s professional approach to meeting each patient’s needs, each optometry consultation is built around the patient. As healthcare professionals we may be satisfied with how our patients do, but are the outcomes we measure those that really matter to patients? Once patients leave the consultation and step on to the street, they have to live with their visual function. While objective repeatable measures of visual function as used in practice have their place, they may not capture the patient’s experience. Increasingly the healthcare world is focusing on this, and a set of tools exists to capture the patient’s viewpoint: patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Familiarity with PROMs should inform optometrists’ professional development and infuse every consultation.

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