Does providing feedback on patient-reported outcomes to healthcare professionals result in better outcomes for patients? A systematic review

Qual Life Res. 2013 Nov;22(9):2265-78. doi: 10.1007/s11136-013-0390-0. Epub 2013 Mar 17.


Purpose: To assess the impact of providing healthcare professionals with feedback on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).

Methods: This is a systematic review including controlled studies investigating the effectiveness of PROMs feedback, specifically examining the impact at a group-level and a patient-level.

Results: Only one study provided feedback at a group-level as a measure of professional performance, which found no intervention effect. At a patient-level, sixteen studies were identified and only one study found an overall significant difference in the PROM score. However, an additional six studies found a significant result favouring the intervention group for a particular subgroup or domain. The studies which demonstrated the greatest impact primarily used PROMs as a management tool in an outpatient setting on a specialised patient population. In contrast, there was weak evidence supporting with the use of PROMs as a screening tool. The studies which found a positive effect had a lower quality score on average.

Conclusions: The effectiveness of PROMs feedback seems to be related to the function of the PROM. However, the evidence regarding the impact of PROMs feedback on patient outcomes is weak, and methodological issues with studies are frequent. The use of PROMs as a performance measure is not well investigated. Future research should focus on the appropriate application of PROMs by testing specific hypothesis related to cause and effect. Qualitative research is required to provide a deeper understanding of the practical issues surrounding the implementation of PROMs and the methodological issues associated with the effective use of the information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Quality of Life