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Case Study

How Mass General Brigham Uses ePROs to Improve the Patient Encounter

15 Minute Read


The challenge

Leaders at MGB are always in search of tools to improve care quality, minimize variation, and better demonstrate the value of care that they provide to their patients.

The organization

MGB is an integrated health system, which includes two academic medical centers, three specialty hospitals, seven community hospitals, a health plan, and a primary care network of more than 6,000 physicians. To date, MGB has one of the largest ePRO programs in the world, assigns more than 110,000 questionnaires per month, and has collected more than 14 million questionnaires.

The approach

Recognizing that ePROs positively impact patient care and outcomes (e.g., patient’s quality of life, time on treatment, and survival), MGB leadership provided top-down support to create a PROMs department to implement the use of ePROs across specialties, including oncology. Individual and aggregated ePROs are used to inform the patient-provider interaction.

The result

Since implementing the PROMs program, MGB has seen sweeping uptake of the collection of ePROs used in patient care, with over 60 specialties using ePROs to care for patients. Additionally, MGB has leveraged aggregated ePRO data to identify care gaps for improvement at the provider, institution, and system levels. More broadly, the PROMs program has become a tool for MGB to support contracting and to inform pay-for-performance metrics.

Sponsored by
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This article is sponsored by Pfizer. Advisory Board experts wrote the article, conducting the underlying research independently and objectively. Pfizer had the opportunity to review the article.



For organizations looking to leverage ePRO data to support the point of care and drive improvement in overall quality and outcomes, below are MGB’s five keys to success

  • Approach

    Invest in buy-in and program staff, then user-friendly technology

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  • Approach

    Design the program for ease of use and clinical appropriateness

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  • Approach

    Use aggregated ePRO data to support the point of care

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  • Approach

    Address structural inequities in ePRO program access

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  • Approach

    Develop templates for program evaluation and success

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MGB categorizes the impacts of their PROMs program into four main categories, which they call the "4 C's":

MGB’s “4 C’s” to illustrate PROMs program impact

The routine collection of ePROs in MGB’s clinics has led to improved clinician satisfaction, improved understanding of diverse disease processes,1 and has revealed structural inequities in how PROMs are collected.

MGB’s PROMs program improves benchmarking for quality outcomes across clinics, physicians, and patients. These comparative analyses help MGB address root causes to outlier care outcomes.

MGB uses ePROs to convince external stakeholders of the value of an intervention. MGB partners with pharmaceutical companies to capture quality of life and survival data for new cancer drug therapies.

MGB uses ePROs to inform pay-for performance contracts with payer organizations. MGB is reimbursed for ePRO data collection in private payer contracts and through its Medicaid ACO.


Conversations you should be having

  1. Identifying how ePROs can advance strategic priorities to establish a vision and gain buy-in
  2. Engaging cross-industry partners to identify opportunities for collaboration (especially among provider, technology, life science, advocacy, and research organizations)
  3. Deciding which components of an ePRO program should be condition-specific vs. condition-agnostic, taking into account both population-level and individual patient priorities
  4. Determining how to evaluate ePRO program success and leverage that success to engage payers

Conversations focused on ePROs are likely related to ongoing conversations around care management and remote patient monitoring. To incentivize and finance ePRO programs, leaders should consider them as part of the larger infrastructure investments required to support the transition to value-based care and care at home.


About the sponsor

At Pfizer Oncology, we are committed to advancing medicines wherever we believe we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with cancer. Today, we have an industry-leading portfolio of 24 approved innovative cancer medicines and biosimilars across more than 30 indications, including breast, genitourinary, colorectal, blood and lung cancers, as well as melanoma.

Learn More About Pfizer

This report is sponsored by Pfizer, an Advisory Board member organization. Representatives of Pfizer helped select the topics and issues addressed. Advisory Board experts w rote the report, maintained final editorial approval, and conducted the underlying research independently and objectively. Advisory Board does not endorse any company, organization, product or brand mentioned herein.

To learn more, view our editorial guidelines

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