In 2009, the English NHS introduced a world-leading initiative in the pursuit of quality health care: the measurement of patients’ views about their own health became a routine part of the delivery of NHS-funded services. In an initiative led by the Department of Health, robust and reliable condition specific and generic (EQ-5D) patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are now completed by patients both before and after four elective surgical procedures.
Literally millions of data points have been collected since then, yielding powerful insights into how much surgery improves health; how the performance of hospitals and surgeons differs; and how cost effective surgical procedures are. The evidence is relevant to patients when choosing treatments and providers; the GPs who refer them; hospital surgical teams wanting to benchmark performance; budget-holders wanting to commission high quality care; and policy makers and regulators (Devlin and Appleby 2010). The response rates achieved by the PROMs programme are remarkably good, and the costs of data collection and analysis are reasonable.