Implementing patient-reported outcome measures in palliative care clinical practice: a systematic review of facilitators and barriers

Palliat Med. 2014 Feb;28(2):158-75. doi: 10.1177/0269216313491619. Epub 2013 Jun 25.


Background: Many patient-reported outcome measures have been developed in the past two decades, playing an increasingly important role in palliative care. However, their routine use in practice has been slow and difficult to implement.

Aim: To systematically identify facilitators and barriers to the implementation of patient-reported outcome measures in different palliative care settings for routine practice, and to generate evidence-based recommendations, to inform the implementation process in clinical practice.

Design: Systematic literature review and narrative synthesis.

Data sources: Medline, PsycInfo, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase and British Nursing Index were systematically searched from 1985. Hand searching of reference lists for all included articles and relevant review articles was performed.

Results: A total of 3863 articles were screened. Of these, 31 articles met the inclusion criteria. First, data were integrated in the main themes: facilitators, barriers and lessons learned. Second, each main theme was grouped into either five or six categories. Finally, recommendations for implementation on outcome measures at management, health-care professional and patient levels were generated for three different points in time: preparation, implementation and assessment/improvement.

Conclusions: Successful implementation of patient-reported outcome measures should be tailored by identifying and addressing potential barriers according to setting. Having a coordinator throughout the implementation process seems to be key. Ongoing cognitive and emotional processes of each individual should be taken into consideration during changes. The educational component prior to the implementation is crucial. This could promote ownership and correct use of the measure by clinicians, potentially improving practice and the quality of care provided through patient-reported outcome measure data use in clinical decision-making.

Keywords: Palliative care; clinical practice; end-of-life care; hospice; narrative synthesis; patient-reported outcome measures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Hospices
  • Humans
  • Narration
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Self Report