Patient-related outcome measures (PROMs), which focus on outcomes that are directly related to the patient, have taken on added importance and significance over the past several years. PROMs can include symptoms and other aspects of health–related quality of life indicators such as physical or social function, and can also facilitate more accurate patient-physician communication in terms of the burden of treatment-related morbidities by providing a more detailed and complete evaluation of treatments for specific conditions. However, the success of a well-developed PROM that adequately and accurately reflects that patient’s perspective relies on the use of an instrument that is psychometrically tested and validated and can capture the burden of disease or treatment, which is time consuming and expensive.  A potential alternative to the use of standardized instruments to collect data and provide a foundation for the development of a PROM is the use of technologies associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), which have rapidly increased as over 80% of all adults use the Internet to search for health information, connect with patients similar to themselves, and share information regarding their condition or the facilities in which they seek treatment. The use of blockchain technology provides an ability to securely protect patient data from all devices, both in transit and at rest, and securely provide access privileges to patients on what type of data they would like to exchange. The use of blockchain technology provides advantages in that it decentralizes data, which increases the security of sensitive information.  A patient can now use their own digital signature and fingerprint, and combine that with a provider’s signature to unlock and release data that will be more secure because of the restricted access that can only be leveraged if there is verification from both the patient and the provider.  This provides greater opportunities in the development of PROMs and the gathering of data to use in such measures.

Jason Goldwater, Senior Director, National Quality Forum