HMI panellist Prof Sharon Fonn

When deciding on the establishment of an independent Outcomes Monitoring and Reporting Organisation (OMRO), the Health Market Inquiry (HMI) panel was asked at this week’s HMI report presentation whether a relationship with the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) had been considered.

Posing this question, the OHSC’s Dr Siphiwe Mndweni reminded the panel of the quality of standards overseeing function of her office and the regulation thereof. Monitoring representing a significant part of this function along with the regulatory aspect – “OMRO being an independent body” – had, she indicated, prompted her question.

The OHSC was obviously vital within the system, HMI panellist, Prof Sharon Fonn, acknowledged in response: “Much of what they do fits comfortably within the supply side* of what we are proposing and we are anticipating an extension of their function in areas such as private hospitals and individual doctors’ rooms.”

The OHSC is essentially regulated by legislation and its basic focus, Fonn noted, was on safety: “Outcomes monitoring is complex being largely dependent on information from the providers themselves. For example, the type of information needed would be ‘this person of this age came to me very sick with this kind of risk and I said X’. But more important at the end is what the patient said, i.e. I was worse, the same, or better after X.

“Getting these facts together is essential in many countries – information provided by the professionals themselves and supplemented by the patients.”

*Earlier in the HMI report presentation it had been explained that OMRO, which would function under the aegis of the proposed Supply Side Health Regulator (SSHR), would be an independent, private organisation in which key actors such as doctors, hospitals and patients “co-operate to generate relevant and standardised outcome information and ways to improve clinical quality, and secondly, to provide patients and funders with relevant choice information on health outcomes”.