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01-02-2009 | Uitgave 1/2009

Quality of Life Research 1/2009

A conceptual framework for patient–provider communication: a tool in the PRO research tool box

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 1/2009
D. Feldman-Stewart, M. D. Brundage



To demonstrate how a previously described conceptual framework of physician–patient communication can inform the application of existing theory and the extension of new theory regarding the impact of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in clinical practice.


We used a communication framework to guide interpretation of empirical results relating to three situations: Collecting PROs from individual patients, providing individual patient’s PROs to his/her physician, and providing PROs from clinical trials to individual patients.


For each of the selected situations, results of empirical studies of PROs are discussed in terms of the elements of the communication framework. These influences are developed into testable hypotheses regarding the impact of PROs and alternative hypotheses explaining empirical research results. We further illustrate how the conceptual framework can be knitted to other theories of communication to enhance understanding of the use of PROs in clinical practice.


Guidance of a conceptual framework of communication can enhance understanding of PRO study results and lead to testable hypotheses about how to further improve the clinical use of PROs.

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