Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Data Briefing

Patient reported outcome measures: how are we feeling today?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 11 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d8191
  1. John Appleby, chief economist
  1. 1King’s Fund, London W1G 0AN, UK
  1. j.appleby{at}

Patients’ perceptions of the effects of healthcare provide important data, but, cautions John Appleby, we have to be careful how we use them

Don Berwick, distinguished health quality guru and, until recently, in charge of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, long ago pointed out that “The ultimate measure by which to judge the quality of a medical effort is whether it helps patients (and their families) as they see it.”1 This may seem a statement of the obvious, but it has taken a surprisingly long time for any health service to systematically collect information from patients about their health status.

Many countries have been collecting patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) as part of clinical trials or national or regional clinical registries, for example. However, it is the PROMs initiative in the English NHS2—and in particular its ambition to cover not just elective surgery …

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