Purpose: While clinical care is frequently directed at making patients "feel better," patients' reports on their functioning and well-being (patient-reported outcomes [PROs]) are rarely collected in routine clinical practice. The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) has developed a User's Guide for Implementing Patient-Reported Outcomes Assessment in Clinical Practice. This paper summarizes the key issues from the User's Guide.
Methods: Using the literature, an ISOQOL team outlined considerations for using PROs in clinical practice; options for designing the intervention; and strengths, weaknesses, and resource requirements associated with each option.
Results: Implementing routine PRO assessment involves a number of methodological and practical decisions, including (1) identifying the goals for collecting PROs in clinical practice, (2) selecting the patients, setting, and timing of assessments, (3) determining which questionnaire(s) to use, (4) choosing a mode for administering and scoring the questionnaire, (5) designing processes for reporting results, (6) identifying aids to facilitate score interpretation, (7) developing strategies for responding to issues identified by the questionnaires, and (8) evaluating the impact of the PRO intervention on the practice.
Conclusions: Integrating PROs in clinical practice has the potential to enhance patient-centered care. The online version of the User's Guide will be updated periodically.