Patient reported outcome measures: researchers ask whether they are up to the job

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 01 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6160
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

Measuring the way that patients experience their treatment is an idea whose time has come but one that still poses big challenges for scientists and clinicians, a leading expert said last week.

Stefan Cano, one of the organisers of last week’s conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research, spoke to the BMJ about the opportunities and controversies surrounding patient reported outcome measures (PROMs).

He said it was exciting that UK ministers were now actively promoting the use of PROMs in areas such as surgery; and there was also guidance from US and European regulatory bodies on their use to support drug labelling claims.

But he acknowledged that many specialists were in “heated debate” over whether the patient level measurement scales and questionnaires developed so far were “fit for purpose.” Many researchers were also concerned about how the tools could meet standards being set by regulators.

Dr Cano said, “These questionnaires, these scales are becoming very important. And they are here to stay. They are …

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