Do patient-reported outcome measures measure up? A qualitative study to examine perceptions and experiences with heart failure proms among diverse, low-income patients

J Patient Rep Outcomes. 2022 Jan 15;6(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s41687-022-00410-9.


Background: The Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) is a Patient-Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) used to evaluate the health status of patients with heart failure (HF) but has predominantly been tested in settings serving predominately white, male, and economically well-resourced populations. We sought to examine the acceptability of the shorter version of the KCCQ (KCCQ-12) among racially and ethnically diverse patients receiving care in an urban, safety-net setting.

Methods: We conducted cognitive interviews with a diverse population of patients with heart failure in a safety net system to assess their perceptions of the KCCQ-12. We conducted a thematic analysis of the qualitative data then mapped themes to the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation Model of Behavior framework.

Results: We interviewed 18 patients with heart failure and found that patients broadly endorsed the concepts of the KCCQ-12 with minor suggestions to improve the instrument's content and appearance. Although patients accepted the KCCQ-12, we found that the instrument did not adequately measure aspects of health care and quality of life that patients identified as being important components of managing their heart failure. Patient-important factors of heart failure management coalesced into three main themes: social support, health care environment, and mental health.

Conclusions: Patients from this diverse, low-income, majority non-white population experience unique challenges and circumstances that impact their ability to manage disease. In this study, patients were receptive to the KCCQ-12 as a tool but perceived that it did not adequately capture key health components such as mental health and social relationships that deeply impact their ability to manage HF. Further study on the incorporation of social determinants of health into PROMs could make them more useful tools in evaluating and managing HF in diverse, underserved populations.

Keywords: Heart failure; Outcomes research; Qualitative research.