Dr. Paul Krabbe, Head of the Patient-Centered Health Technology Assessment section, UMCG, has a particular task: to develop patient reported outcome instruments (PROMs) that track the quality of life of patients. Nestlé food and drink company in Switzerland has been looking for years for a PROM to assess the quality of life of babies aged 0-12 months. Via UMCG colleagues, Paul Krabbe and Nestlé got connected and intensive European public-private partnership was born.
This week, the partners introduce the first PROM under the company name Ch â teau Santé: Infant Quality of life instrument (IQI). The first in a series and a health novelty.
Paul: 'Monitoring the quality of life is something completely different from monitoring physical health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as an environment in which individuals can function physically, mentally and socially. Physical health is only one of the aspects of this. People can be physically healthy, but they can experience a feeling of being depressed. Quality of life also is dependent on whether you, for example, are able to have social relationships, can participate in society. The Infant Quality of life Instrument measures the total experience.’
‘Measuring quality of life is a difficult and complex task,’ says Patrick Detzel, health economics manager of Nestlé from Lausanne. ‘But for Nestlé a more subjective approach to information about how the customer experiences the product is essential input when developing new products or for the development of our existing product range. Paul's PROM offers our company a measurement tool that is science based and has been proven in pilot studies.’ Nestlé company financed the development costs of the new measuring instrument.
The Infant Quality of life Instrument measures the quality of life of babies from 0-12 months of age according to the WHO definition and is based on a scientific standard linked to a 1 rating number. This is done by building a few simple comparison tasks in an app (HealthSnApp) that is used to run the instrument. These comparison tasks are totally new in the field of quality of life measurement and are part of a special measurement model developed some years ago by Paul too. The neonatology department of the UMCG is the first consumer to provide parents of babies in child intensive care with the IQI care app.
Paul: 'The mothers of the babies monitor their babies via item-response modules in the app on a variety of aspects: for example, on nutrition, sleep, appetite, exercise, environmental reactions. The mothers can choose from several degrees of experience of the quality of life of their baby: very, less bad. By subjectively monitoring over a longer period of time, in addition to the clinical health measurement, a total picture is created of how babies function at a social, mental and physical level.’
Subjective information that can be of great value in multiple areas. Paul: 'For example, it offers mothers the opportunity to compare the development of their baby with other babies in the same age category in the same circumstance: does my baby develop better, faster, differently, and in what area: health, affective level or in some other way. The use of IQI offers physicians the possibility to evaluate a new or additional treatment to see whether the treatment is perceived as effective by mothers.’
‘This is also a special moment for Nestlé,’ adds Patrick Detzel: ‘Nestlé is a major player in the baby food market. Among other things, we are developing nutritional supplements that can support pregnant mothers during their pregnancy and babies after birth. But do they also have any added value? Does it give both mother and baby a good feeling both physically and in perception? The evidence-based patient reported outcome instrument by Paul Krabbe offers Nestlé the very best guarantee to measure the quality of the experience.’
The technical application of the IQI and many other outcome instruments that are coming has been patented with support of the Northern Knowledge IP-team. Paul: ‘ Our app is the first interactive health app of which configuration can be used without needing access to an external server.’
In the next few years Paul Krabbe would like to expand his line of health outcome measurement instruments to quality monitoring for persons with chronic pain, those suffering from dementia, patients who have undergone a transplantation and a generic PROM for the measurement of the quality of life in all patients.
What is the secret of the Krabbe method? Paul: 'That in measuring the quality of life, the patient is central, not the physician. The physician often has a completely different perception of a patient's health than the quality of life the patient experiences himself. By linking subjective monitoring to objective measurements, a new patient image is created that can contribute to better healthcare.’
For more information on UG and UMCG patent policy, feel welcome to contact Northern Knowledge IP team via ip-info rug.nl
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