Patients' reasons for non-use of digital patient-reported outcome concepts: A scoping review

Health Informatics J. 2020 Dec;26(4):2811-2833. doi: 10.1177/1460458220942649. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


Data from digitally administered patient reported outcomes (PROs) is used more and more in routine healthcare for long-term conditions as a part of daily clinical practice. This literature study reviews empirical studies of digital PRO to examine patients' reasons for non-use of digitally administered PRO data in routine care. This scoping review searched through PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and PsycINFO databases, reporting on study population, intervention, duration of intervention and motivational factors alongside stated reasons for nonparticipation or dropout for each study. The patients' reasons for not participating, either from study start or by dropout, were analysed through a thematic approach.Fifty-one studies were included, published from 2010 to 2019, mostly from Europe and the Unites States covering different long-term conditions. The reasons for non-use are manifold and cover the themes of ability to use PRO, engagement, emotional distress and technical barriers.Several reasons are given explaining why patients with long-term conditions are not using digitally administered PRO as intended. This should be taken into account in the design phase of digital PRO interventions and considered in conversations with patients during the intervention.

Keywords: IT design and development methodologies; ehealth; human factors; mhealth; telehealth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*