Using PozQoL in clinical services
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This page contains information for clinicians who have patients living with HIV:
- Why use PozQoL in clinical services
- Tips for clinicians using PozQoL
- Overcoming time and logistical constraints
- What to do if a patient presents with a PozQoL Scale
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Why use PozQoL in clinical services
The PozQoL Scale is an empirically validated quality of life scale for people with HIV. The Scale is short — only 13 items — and easy to use. This makes it possible to integrate into day-to-day work with patients.
Clinicians who have used PozQoL in their practice report that it:
- Revealed information they did not previously know about patients or clients
- Identified patients who were not managing as well as the doctor had thought
- Opened up discussions about referrals to community support services
- Quantified information that the clinician already knew but hadn’t been able to track before
- Allowed information about patient quality of life to be measured and tracked over time
Tips for clinicians using PozQoL
PozQoL can help clinicians measure and track the quality of life of HIV-positive patients.
We have found that changes generally occur over periods of two or three months. PozQoL trials in ongoing programs suggest that measurable changes to overall and domain scores do not tend to occur more quickly than this.
When deciding how often to ask a patient to complete PozQoL, consider how often they will be willing to retake surveys and logistics (such as time during appointments).
We recommend asking patients to complete the PozQoL survey during longer appointments, such as annual health assessment appointments at 6 or 12 months.
It is also important to know your patients.
Overcoming time and logistical constraints
Clinics have been enthusiastic to incorporate PozQoL due to it being short and simple. However, the amount of time that doctors can spend with each patient is often very limited.
Ways to help reduce the time using PozQoL will take during an appointment include:
- Ask patients to fill out the survey before their appointment or while in the waiting room.
- Incorporate PozQoL into an electronic patient outcome measure system if one is already in place.
- Get to know the PozQoL survey questions and health domains to make it easier to understand the scores and know what to focus on.
- Use the PozQoL calculator for individuals to quickly calculate scores.
What to do if a patient presents with a PozQoL Scale
It is possible that one of your patients has completed PozQoL at another service and would like to speak with you about the results.
If you are unfamiliar with the PozQoL Scale, it may be a good idea to make a follow-up appointment to give yourself time to familiarise yourself with understanding the scale and working with PozQoL Scores.
However, if your patient urgently needs to address their concerns at the time, the following steps may be helpful:
- Use the PozQoL calculator for individuals (Microsoft Excel file) to calculate PozQoL Scores
- Use the PozQoL Score Thresholds tables to understand what the PozQoL Scores mean
- Check the Using PozQoL Scores table for some suggested actions and referral options
Already using PozQoL in clinical settings? Let us know!
We love hearing about how others are using PozQoL. So if you are using (or thinking about using) PozQoL, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We welcome and appreciate all your feedback. Providing feedback helps us better understand how we can improve the PozQoL scale, tools, and website.
Thinking about using PozQoL?
We are happy to collaborate or provide advice. We may also be able to put you in touch with others who are using PozQoL in a similar way.
Already using or used PozQoL?
It would be great to include a post about your experiences in our PozQoL Stories. If this is something that interests you, please get in touch.
‘PozQoL helps health professionals bring patient-centred care to the forefront for people with HIV’ with Professor Jenny Hoy (Director HIV Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, The Alfred and Professor of Medicine, Central Clinical School, Monash University)
We have reached the goal of 90% of people with HIV diagnosed and over 90% percent of them linked to care on antiretroviral treatment and over 90% achieving and maintaining an undetectable viral load.
This means that people with HIV can now live reasonably normal lives, although, living with a chronic disease, requiring daily medication — and medication that is now extremely effective and with minimal side effects.
So we now need to turn our focus to ensuring the majority of people with HIV achieve a good quality of life.
Being able to measure quality of life with a tool that has been validated for people with HIV and being able to measure quality-of-life changes over time is the first step for us, as health professionals, to bring patient-centred care to the forefront and consider the outcomes of utmost importance to people with HIV.
Now, these outcomes will vary from person to person over time and having a tool that encompasses physical, social, and functional attributes ensures that we can cover all bases.
When first introduced, our patients needed to complete PozQoL on paper, and this was initially problematic for us here in the hospital clinic that use an electronic medical record, because it only allowed us to scan the results into the medical record.
But in the new year, we’re moving to a new, exciting pilot, where we are hopeful that completion of PozQoL electronically into an individual’s My Patient Portal and automatic download into the electronic medical record in a form that can be compared over time will occur. And this will allow us to follow changes in overall quality of life, as well as the different sub-domains, over time.
I’m looking forward to this opportunity.