Our work as a primary research site of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®), combined with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, allowed us to evaluate the real-world applicability and acceptability of PROMIS measures in an addiction medicine setting.
As part of a 3-month prospective observational study, 225 outpatients at a substance abuse treatment clinic completed PROMIS item banks for alcohol use (as well as 15 additional item banks from 8 other PROMIS domains, including emotional distress, sleep, and pain), with assessments at intake, 1-month follow-up, and 3-month follow-up. A subsample of therapists and their patients completed health domain importance ratings and qualitative interviews to elicit feedback regarding the content and format of the patients’ assessment results.
The importance ratings revealed that depression, anxiety, and lack of emotional support were rated highest of the non-alcohol-related domains among both patients and clinicians. General alcohol use was considered most important by both patients and clinicians. Based on their suggestions, changes were made to item response feedback to facilitate comprehension and communication.
Both therapists and patients agreed that their review of the graphical display of scores, as well as individual item responses, helped them to identify areas of greatest concern and was useful for treatment planning. The results of our pilot work demonstrated the value and practicality of incorporating a comprehensive health assessment within a substance abuse treatment setting.