The PROMs programme invites all NHS-funded patients going through a PROMs-eligible procedure to complete pre- and post-operative questionnaires, which are linked, where possible, to administrative data about their procedure-related health care.
Pre-operative questionnaires may be administered on the day the patient is admitted for treatment or at a pre-assessment clinic beforehand. Paper-based questionnaires are predominantly used, but questionnaires can be delivered electronically. Typically, the questionnaire will take around 5 - 10 minutes to complete. These questionnaires are collected by providers after completion and sent to their data supplier. The data supplier then submits the pre-operative data as record-level xml files to NHS Digital.
Where pre-operative questionnaires link to a HES episode, NHS Digital sends the data supplier a file containing the PROMs Serial Number, the procedure, and the operation date. This lets data suppliers calculate when to send post-operative questionnaires to patients. Post-operative questionnaires should be sent out six months after the procedure date. Data suppliers can send out up to two follow-up mailings to patients that have not returned post-operative questionnaires, encouraging them to do so. Patients return completed post-operative questionnaires to the data supplier using a pre-paid envelope. The data supplier then submits the post-operative data to NHS Digital.
On receipt of the data, NHS Digital performs a number of validation checks and the data becomes available for NHS Digital analyses and publications. NHS Digital links pre-operative questionnaires with administrative data about patients’ hospital stays (for relevant procedures) held in the Hospital Episode Statistics (Admitted Patient Care) dataset.