Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by outcome data?
We define patient outcome data as patient ratings of the effectiveness of a treatment for improving or curing the patient condition, illness or pain. By aggregating a critical mass of data, patients are able to better understand which treatments work and don’t work for patients with similar symptoms . Until now, this type of insights and information has been unavailable.
What type of patient outcome data exists today?
Surprisingly, although there are over 51 million surgeries a year in the US alone, there is very little patient outcome data. Most of the information available is limited to Medicaid “complication data”. Medicaid compiles this data when a patient is readmitted to the hospital for the same condition within 30 days of their first surgery. We created Health Outcome after checking and consulting with medical and health policy professionals who encouraged us to create a platform to capture the voice of the patient and establish a public database with patient outcome information.
See our Resources page for a list of scientific and media articles about the lack of health outcome data and it’s affect on unnecessary treatments.
What is Health Outcome's mission?
Health Outcome’s mission is to offer a platform for both patients and healthcare professionals with outcome data that can be used to inform evidence-based treatment recommendations.
We believe that capturing the voice of the patient is a missing element that is key for preventing unnecessary healthcare, a $750 billion problem that is not only costly but in many cases, causes harm to patients.
Health Outcome strives to make objective and non-incentivized information accessible to the general public so they can receive proper treatment.
What is a treatment review on Health Outcome?
Patients write treatment reviews describing their treatment experience for their conditions. For example, they rate the treatments they’ve had for lower-back pain with a five point scale: Cured (5), Almost Cured (4), Improved (3), Not Improved (2) and Worsened (1).
Patients also provide additional demographic information such as gender, age, weight, height, physical activity per week and chronicity. This is valuable information to enable comparison of different medical treatments based on aggregated patient outcome data as well as specific patient attributes.
Why do patients submit reviews and treatment ratings?
Patients are expressing a need to be heard as they are rarely asked about their treatment experiences. They understand how critical their own experiences can be to helping others find the right treatment for their injury, and they have a strong desire to help others who were or are in the same situation as themselves.
Patient responses have exceeded all expectations both in number as well as in quality of the outcome reviews, helping achieve a critical mass of information that already lends to insightful recommendations.
Are there any important insights that have been gained so far?
One example that confirms recent medical reports is that 84% of back surgery patients are still “in-pain” years after the procedure. Patients' average rating for all types of back-pain surgeries is on average, 2 out of 5, one of the lowest ratings among low back pain treatments. The data also shows that 54% of patients who had surgery were more likely to have two or more additional surgeries; and that more surgeries lead to a higher likelihood of being in pain. The results are based on over 23,000 treatment ratings for lower back pain.
Why is patient outcome information important?
More patient data ultimately means better care. Patient data is currently the most comprehensive way to analyze and receive outcome data and understand whether a treatment was effective. This is vital for preventing unnecessary treatments and avoiding further potential harm to patients.
Aren’t there medical studies that provide outcome data?
In today’s information age, medical studies offer limited insights. Due to high costs, studies are typically limited to less than 300 patients each. In the same vein, studies can be biased as they often cost tens of millions of dollars to conduct and there is pressure to prove their hypothesis. Lastly, studies are not set up to compare a number of alternative treatments, rather they compare a single treatment to no treatment at all.
Is patient data reliable?
Doctors rely on patients to validate the success of treatments as they are the ones experiencing and reporting their pain. In this vein, aggregated patient data is valuable in providing insights on trends and patterns. When applied to medical treatments, it offers both patients and doctors a clear understanding of whether the treatment was effective or ineffective in both the short and long term. This is meaningful as most medical professionals do not have this visibility once the patient completes his/her treatment.