Using patient-reported outcomes and PROMIS in research and clinical applications: experiences from the PCORI pilot projects

Qual Life Res. 2016 Aug;25(8):2109-16. doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1246-1. Epub 2016 Feb 25.


Purpose: The field of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) continues to develop. Patient-reported outcomes and, in particular the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) contribute complementary data to clinician-derived outcomes traditionally used in health decision-making. However, there has been little work to understand how PROMIS measures may inform or be integrated into PCOR or clinical applications.

Methods: Lead investigators from four pilot projects funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) collaborated to discuss lessons learned about the use of PROMIS in PCOR studies via virtual and in-person meetings. In addition, a qualitative data collection tool was used to assess the pilot projects' experiences.

Results: Lessons learned from the pilot projects centered on practical elements of research design, such as choosing the right outcomes to study, considering the advantages and limitations of the PROMIS short forms and computer adaptive technology versions, planning ahead for a feasible data collection process, maintaining the focus on patients by ensuring that the research is truly patient-centered, and helping patients and providers make the most of PROMIS in care.

Conclusion: The PCORI pilot projects demonstrated that PROMIS can be successfully used to conduct research that will help patients make decisions about their care. Interest in PCOR continues to grow and the lessons learned from these projects about the use of PROMIS will be helpful to investigators. Given the numerous benefits of PROMIS, implementing this tool in research and care will hopefully lead to significant progress in measuring health outcomes that are meaningful and relevant to all stakeholders.

Keywords: Assessment center; Chronic disease; PROMIS; Patient-centered outcomes; Rheumatoid arthritis; Substance use; Vasculitis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Humans
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life