At integrated health system Kaiser Permanente, some patients are asked to provide the kind of personal information that's usually not expected.
Patients are asked if they have concerns about their living situation, have trouble accessing food, or have transportation issues preventing them from getting the care they need. The questions, part of an assessment tool called Your Current Life Situation, also address the general level of stress the patient may be experiencing.
The tool, launched in 2015, is intended to help Kaiser's clinicians understand aspects of their patients lives that go beyond their clinical care but still have a large influence on their overall health and wellness.
Many believe that the healthcare system has a small influence on a patient's overall health status.
"If you look at the mission statements of health systems, it's to improve the health of members and populations. We must pay attention," said Matt Stiefel, senior director of the Center for Population Health at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser. "This collection of social, economic and behavioral determinants powerfully influences health."
As the push to value-based care motivates providers and payers to improve the overall health of their patients and communities, innovation in quality measurement has begun. The common measures currently used, such as readmission rates and complications, aren't enough to support needed changes, experts say, because they give stakeholders only a limited picture of the health status of their patients. Therefore, recent innovation in quality measurement focuses on ways to gather information on patients and communities that go beyond clinical processes and outcomes.