Patient-reported Outcomes: Definition & Usage

Patient-reported outcomes are among the most prominent types of clinical outcome assessments employed in research. These measures provide vital medical data based on a patient report, which is given directly by the patient. In fact, the official definition claims that “any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else” can be classified as a patient-reported outcome (“Patient-reported outcomes,” 2018).

Since health-related information comes directly from the subject, patient-reported outcomes can be widely used in research and practice. From measuring emotional well-being to evaluating physical conditions, such as alcohol cravings, these objective behavioral measures are crucial indicators in medicine (Deshpande et al., 2011). As these reports reveal symptoms that are known only to the subject, patient-reported outcomes can explore metrics that lab tests may miss. On top of that, patient-reported outcomes can be used across various domains and diseases. Therefore, they can help experts understand the impact a disease or a new treatment may have on subjects, families, and societies. Last but not the least – due to the strict ethical and inclusion criteria in research – patient-reported outcomes can also be used to determine which subjects can participate in a clinical trial. Patient-reported outcomes facilitate communication and empower patients.

Patient-reported Outcomes & Digital Solutions

Patient-reported Outcomes & Digital Solutions

Technology and digital solutions are highly beneficial in research. In fact, digital solutions facilitate recruiting, data collection, and interoperability. With sophisticated delivery systems like Qolty, experts can collect and assess outcomes, such as patient-reported outcomes. In fact, many of the popular patient-reported tools have been cataloged within the National Institute of Health (NIH) Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) and implemented in practice. PROMIS is one of the most advanced databases, which is easily accessible and applicable across multiple domains. For instance, patient-reported outcomes can be used to measure symptoms, physical conditions, emotional well-being, social functioning, clinical trial outcomes, and patients’ general satisfaction with medicine (Deshpande et al., 2011).

By utilizing technology, patients become active participants in research. That’s why patient-reported outcomes are based solely on patients’ thoughts and symptoms. What’s more, electronic surveys can be conducted outside the hospital, with push-on notifications motivating subjects to engage with treatment. Consequently, by having access to data in real time, experts can provide tailored feedback in no time, proving that patients are the focus of healthcare.

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Patient-reported Outcomes: PROMIS & Qolty

Patient-reported outcomes are integrated into sophisticated platforms like Qolty to help experts meet patients’ needs and answer scientific goals. As explained above, such reports measure people’s health condition and emotional state by asking clear and engaging questions. Since technological solutions have replaced paper formats, electronic surveys are quick and easy to employ. Note that data collection meets vital safety regulations. In the end, patient-reported outcomes help researchers gain a better understanding of a disease or an intervention.

In particular, Qolty allows experts to access the abundant medical data provided by the PROMIS (Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System). PROMIS is an innovative approach. It covers multiple domains related to physical, social, and mental health, with subdomains, such as pain behavior, satisfaction with social roles, and depression, respectively. Patient-reported outcomes can be applied to a wide range of conditions: cancer, alcohol abuse, heart problems, arthritis, cognition, emotional distress, mobility, anxiety, and much more. Besides adults, pediatric domains are also available, enriching the abundance of medical data available. Thus, PROMIS helps experts cut costs and delays, increase communication and satisfaction, and improve treatment and interoperability.

Patient-reported Outcomes: Pros and Cons

Patient-reported outcomes are widely used in healthcare technology. There are a lot of advantages in the implementation of patient-reported outcomes. Data collection is fast and transparent. Storage of information meets security and confidentiality regulations. On top of that, such measures lead to better communication between experts and users, motivate patients and caregivers, and help researchers gain a better understanding of diseases and treatments (Deshpande et al., 2011).

However, there are also some barriers to the successful implementation of patient-reported outcomes in practice. From technical issues to cultural differences, patient-reported outcomes are not always utilized successfully in medicine. One of the main barriers is the fact that some clinicians fear that such measures will make research burdensome. In fact, this fear is not so irrational. Online data collection may lead to an abundance of clinical data, which consequently may result in problems with analysis and interpretation. Last but not the least, the development of patient-reported outcomes may come with multiple challenges related to the psychometric functions of the measures themselves. Nevertheless, patient-reported outcomes go through rigorous validation and testing to be implemented in practice.

Patient-reported Outcomes: Perspectives

To sum up, patient-reported outcomes have revealed their impressive potential in medicine.

  • Since patients have become the main focus of research, patients’ thoughts and opinions are now considered as vital aspects of medicine. Thus, information comes not from trained staff or caregivers but directly from the patient.
  • Patient-reported outcomes cover multiple domains and can be used within different populations. This diversity of data may provide valuable medical insights.
  • As technology plays a major role in medicine, electronic surveys make assessment quick and efficient. In fact, online testing eliminates waiting times and commuting, so patient-reported outcomes can be done outside the hospital. Note that alerts and push-on notifications improve data collection, and real-time data collection facilitates research and feedback.
  • Safe storage of information is one of the main factors in medicine. That’s why it’s not surprising that patient-reported outcomes meet all the ethical and security regulations in research.
  • Patient-reported outcomes are engaging, so they often lead to improved responsiveness, communication, and motivation.
  • In today’s multicultural world, language and cultural differences are also considered when creating a patient-reported tool.
  • On top of that, patient-reported outcomes reveal impressive psychometric properties. As a result, such clinical outcomes foster interoperability.

Patient-reported outcomes have become the future of research and Qolty can help you join the newest medical trends.


Deshpande, P., Rajan, S., Sudeepthi, L., & Nazir, A. (2011). Patient-reported outcomes: A new era in clinical research. Perspectives in Clinical Research, 2(4), p.137-144.

Patient-reported outcomes (2018). Retrieved from

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