Paper by Joan Broderick, PhD and Colleagues Encourages Use of PROMIS Measures to Improve Clinical Care

Joan Broderick, PhD

In a paper published in the inaugural edition of eGEMs, Joan Broderick, PhD and colleagues described the advantages of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) for measuring patient reported outcomes (PROs) and discussed ways in which PROMIS might be used to improve clinical care of patients.

PROMIS is an initiative of the National Institutes of Health to standardize and improve the quality of measures obtained through patient self-report. Over the course of more than a decade, PROMIS researchers have developed and validated measures of physical health, mental health and social health for adults and children in 23 domains, including fatigue, pain, sleep, and social support. All item banks have been evaluated using item response theory approaches and other advanced psychometric techniques. Short form versions and computer-adaptive tests have been developed to ease the burden on patients. The PROMIS tools can be administered free of charge through the Assessment Center via the Internet.

Dr. Broderick identified several factors converging to promote the use of PROMIS tools, including federal policies that encourage patient centered care and shared decision making, a growing interest in using PROs in comparative effectiveness research, and the development of patient portals in electronic health records. These are creating opportunities for greater patient participation and engagement with their health providers in communicating important aspects of their illness experience. Especially for patients with a chronic illness, many welcome the opportunity to inform their doctor about a broader picture of their illness experience, including fatigue, sleep disturbance, and difficulty performing valued role functions that impact their social relationships.

Dr. Broderick pointed to the need for research into how PROs can be effectively integrated into day-to-day patient care, including studies of how to present PRO reports in a clinically relevant format to both patients and health providers in ways that add value to the clinical encounter. She and her colleagues concluded by saying, “Systematic studies that investigate the best methods for using PROs in clinical care and for evaluating the impact on patient outcomes are now needed.”

Dr. Broderick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Program Director of the Applied Behavioral Medicine Research Institute, and a Principal Investigator in the PROMIS initiative. The article “Advances in Patient Reported Outcomes: The NIH PROMIS Measures” was published in Volume 1, Issue 1 of eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes), a free, open access, peer-reviewed e-publication published by the Electronic Data Methods Forum, with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.