Integrating Data Collection Into Office Work Flow and Electronic Health Records for Clinical Outcomes Research

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Meticulous collection of clinical outcomes metrics in patients undergoing elective surgery is important to ensure quality care; it is also increasing in importance as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services moves to tie reimbursement to outcomes and insurance approval. This study assesses a systematic method for gathering preoperative and postoperative data on patients with nasal obstruction who undergo functional septorhinoplasty that was developed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. The electronic database was initiated in July 2013, patients continue to be actively enrolled, and follow-up data continue to be collected. This procedure represents a systematic method for the initial visit evaluation, collection of patient-reported outcome measures, documentation of surgical management, and follow-up of patients. For consistency and ease of data collection, as well as data interpretation, this method is integrated into a RedCap survey database and the institution’s electronic health record system. During the 4 years that this process has been in place, outcomes data have been collected on more than 1000 patients at 7 time points to create an institutional database. This system allows the tracking of patients’ outcomes data and the mining of the institutional database for future research. As Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services moves from a volume-driven health care model to a value-driven health care model, demonstration of measurable outcomes in patients undergoing elective surgery will be of paramount importance.

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