One of the most powerful forces influencing American healthcare today is the increased push for transparency across the continuum of care. While transparency in the cost of care is generally the more popular topic under the umbrella of “transparency in healthcare,” there is an equally strong push among clinicians and patients alike to improve transparency in clinical outcomes. Consider this analogy: if you are shopping for, say, a new cell phone, knowing the price of the models you are comparing is only half the battle; in order to accurately compare them, you must also have a good idea of their comparative quality, durability and craftsmanship. The same is true in healthcare. In order to be fully-informed consumers of medical care, patients need to know the full cost of a given procedure, but also the physician and/or facility’s track record on clinical quality/outcomes.
At O’Grady Orthopaedics, we believe that tracking and displaying clinical outcomes is absolutely vital to engendering our patient’s trust. Furthermore, openly sharing the results of our clinical research efforts with colleague clinicians allows the strides we make internally to impact patients well outside the scope of our practice. For that reason, Dr. O’Grady is proud to use a product called Surgical Outcomes System (SOS) to track the clinical outcomes for his patients undergoing surgical procedures. Specifically, we use the SOS system to track outcomes for patients undergoing shoulder, knee and hip arthroplasty (replacements) and arthroscopy procedures.
What is SOS data and why does it matter?
The Arthrex SOS global registry collects patient-reported outcomes (PROs) from patients who have undergone orthopaedic or sports medicine procedures. The system is designed to contact you at critical junctures along your road to recovery, from the pre-operative period after you have been indicated for surgery all the way through to more than a decade after your procedure was done. This wide-ranging timeframe allows physician-researchers to grasp the long-term impacts of the procedures they perform on important areas of your life like pain management, mobility and overall quality of life. Patient-reported outcomes are exactly what they sound like: subjective and objective outcome measures of a given procedure as reported by you, as opposed to outcomes that are reported by a healthcare provider or clinical/laboratory test.
What sets Arthrex SOS data apart from the other clinical data collected by Dr. O’Grady during the course of your treatment is that SOS data comes directly from you. As such, it represents the success or failure of a given procedure on the one outcome that really matters: whether or not a procedure has improved your quality of life, from your perspective. Your assessment of the effectiveness of your medical care is critically important in determining whether or not a procedure is successful because it stands apart from the objective clinical measures used as a proxy for the success of a procedure. In other words, your confidence and ability to move through your daily life after surgery is arguably more important to determining the success of your procedure than measuring flexion in the knee or shoulder. If you feel great and are able to live your life better than before the surgery, but your flexion remains below “acceptable” levels, don’t you think that the procedure is still a success? We do!
How do we use SOS data?
At the end of the day, we use SOS data at O’Grady Orthopaedics for two primary reasons: to gauge the overall effectiveness of our clinical interventions and to inform our research efforts. As stated above, SOS data is critically important because it provides your perspective on the outcome of your care, which is arguably the most important data point when gauging the success of a procedure. Furthermore, monitoring and evaluating you long after you have been discharged from our practice—up to fifteen years in some cases!—allows us to provide top-notch orthopaedic care. If you are having issues in the years following your procedure, the SOS system enables us to better catch those on-going issues and work proactively to help you correct them.
Why should you care about SOS data?
Because the SOS global registry allows Dr. O’Grady to continue monitoring your progress even after you’ve been discharged from on-going care in his practice. Participating in the SOS program helps you as much as us because the required on-going monitoring reassures you that, no matter where you live or how often you visit our office, you will always be monitored by Dr. O’Grady and his team. Furthermore, the SOS program empowers you with an additional avenue into Dr. O’Grady’s office, allowing you to relay necessary information quickly and efficiently should the need arise.
At the end of the day, the SOS global registry is a vital tool in our constant quest to provide patients with high-quality, cutting-edge care. Your participation in this program is absolutely critical, however; without our patients’ participation, it is impossible to harness patient-reported outcomes. And as we’ve discussed, this perspective is absolutely vital in determining the success of our interventions. So if Dr. O’Grady has indicated you for a surgical procedure, please consider enrolling in the SOS program and proving your honest, on-going feedback on your care!