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Benefits and challenges of using Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) in routine clinical practice discussed in this month’s NEJM

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Date: 3/2/2017

The benefits and challenges of using Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) in routine clinical practice are discussed in the recent 12th January 2017 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine1. Ethan Basch describes how recent advances in technology have allowed for clinician review of PROs completed by patients between clinic appointments in specialist settings, improving quality of life and communication, reducing emergency department use and lengthening survival. Basch then speculates on the reasons why this approach is not rolled out routinely and more widely, with the key barrier being the requirement to develop and implement specific technology to allow for the visualisation of PRO instruments scores by clinicians. With this requirement to put new systems in place, it is not surprising that Basch cites the cost of reimbursement for the implementation of PRO technology as a second key barrier. He then discusses the lack of standardised methods for integrating PROs into clinical workflow, and the potential requirements for a change in standard working practice if PRO data is routinely collected and reviewed. Basch summarises the benefits of routine PRO reporting in clinical practice including linkage to clinical data and using PROs to examine the quality of care, stating that collecting PRO data routinely “could turn the rhetoric regarding “patient-centered care” into a reality”.

 

1.Basch E. Patient-Reported Outcomes — Harnessing Patients’ Voices to Improve Clinical Care. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:105-108.

 

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