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25-01-2019 | Uitgave 6/2019

Quality of Life Research 6/2019

Advancing the use of patient-reported outcomes in practice: understanding challenges, opportunities, and the potential of health information technology

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 6/2019
Chun-Ju Hsiao, Christine Dymek, Bryan Kim, Brigid Russell
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The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Joint Commission. Brigid Russell worked on this manuscript while she was employed at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



The effective use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can play a critical role in improving health care delivery and patient experience with care. However, PROs are not widely collected and used in clinical practice. This study aims to understand current opportunities and challenges with the use of PROs and the potential for health information technology (IT) to advance their use.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality held two technical expert panel (TEP) meetings to discuss the current use of PROs, challenges, and opportunities in implementation, and how health IT can be leveraged to support effective PRO use in clinical practice. Results were synthesized to identify major themes and takeaways based on different stages of PRO data utilization.


Findings from the TEP meetings indicated varying degrees of PRO usage in ambulatory care settings. Practices often lack a business case to collect PROs. Primary care physicians face more challenges than specialists in selecting appropriate PRO measures due to extensive variation in their patient populations. Providers also need training to use PRO data for shared decision making and population health management. Potential research areas to address PRO implementation challenges include measures harmonization, implementation process and workflow, electronic data collection and integration, and user-friendly data displays.


Opportunities exist during different stages of PRO implementation to advance the use of PROs in clinical practice. Health IT can be utilized to address challenges in data collection, integration, and visualization to make PRO data accessible and understandable to patients and providers.

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