In Denmark, patients are invited to give their feedback on the progress of their disease and their treatment. This initiative helps to improve care and reduce the number of unnecessary consultations.
In 2017, Denmark launched, Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) within its healthcare system. This is a questionnaire filled in by the patient concerning their illness. The aim was to take into account the data collected during consultations in order to better respond to patients' questions and improve the quality of care.
Initially, this service was set up for three diseases: apoplexy, osteoarthritis of the knee or hip and early detection of depression. In subsequent years, the service spread to other areas of medical care, such as diabetic, cardiac rehabilitation, psoriasis and palliative care.
The scheme is an example for the future European Health Data Space, an initiative of the European Commission to encourage EU-wide sharing of medical information. Denmark is also involved with the EU in a project around the Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) questionnaire called H2O.
Lisbeth Kallestrup, Director of Quality and Patient Engagement at Aarhus University Hospital, explains the main principles and ambitions of PRO.
"In Europe, we are all faced with an ageing population and a shortage of healthcare professionals," she says. "In Denmark, one of the national priorities for many years has been to involve patients and see how they want to improve their care," she says.
"We invite them to give their opinion and to ask themselves if something can be done better for themselves and together with the practitioners, they determine which issues are important: from important questions about their health status to questions that patients might find important," she explains.
Reducing the number of outpatient consultations
"Patients don't have to spend the whole day in hospital: they can stay at home and fill in the questionnaire," she points out. "This at the same time reduces the number of outpatient visits," she says.
"We look forward to the collaboration," concludes Lisbeth Kallestrup, "that we will have within the European Union to further explore how we can use data for the health of our population in the future."