Palliative Care Scorecard: An Update for the Outpatient Setting

The impact of palliative care (PC) has long been known to improve patient and provider satisfaction, quality of life, symptoms, and end-of-life outcomes.1,2 Literature also demonstrates that inpatient PC significantly decreases acute care hospitalizations and readmissions, emergency department and urgent care visits, deaths in acute care facilities, and has shown a subsequent decrease in the total costs to the health care system.3 As such, there has been a push to provide these same services in an outpatient setting, incorporated from the time of diagnosis. With the triple aim of health care reform focusing on the quality of care, population health, and cost, there is a need to demonstrate tangible outcomes of value in all services provided. In a 2017 article by Kittelson et al., the first-ever balanced scorecard for inpatient PC was published to tackle this issue with the generation of an automated collection of quality measures using Measuring What Matters as a backbone for services to report programmatic activity and as a tool for quality improvement.4 The goal was to create and apply this scorecard to a new outpatient PC clinic.

Using the inpatient PC scorecard as a model, a similar outpatient balanced scorecard was created (Table 1). Review and reporting of these metrics are crucial to the evaluation of program structure, process, and quality outcomes. All data are collected through extraction from the electronic medical records and do not require manual extraction.

Gonzalez J, Jaber J, Barker, P.C., Markham MJ, Kittelson, SM.  Palliative Care Scorecard: An Update for the Outpatient Setting. J Palliat Med. 2020 Mar;23(3):306-307. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2019.0516