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Qual Life Res. 2007 Oct;16(8):1407-17. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Issues in the design of Internet-based systems for collecting patient-reported outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, 6th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205-1901, USA.



Although there is a growing interest in using patient-reported outcomes (PRO) to monitor disease progression and/or therapeutic response, to improve care, and to screen for physical or psychosocial problems in routine clinical practice, PRO instruments can be difficult to administer, score, and interpret in this setting. Internet-based approaches to PRO collection may help overcome these obstacles. This paper discusses the rationale for using the Internet for routine PRO collection, summarizes relevant literature and ongoing projects, and raises several key design and development issues that should guide further efforts in this area.


A small number of Internet-based PRO collection applications have been or are currently being developed. The major characteristics of several of these projects are reviewed and summarized. Successful Internet-based PRO collection applications must address patient and clinician-specific needs related to workflow and to the way in which results are presented. A growing number of instruments have been adapted for and evaluated in a web-based format.


Collecting PROs via the Internet has the potential to overcome many of the challenges associated with efforts to routinely use PROs in the clinical encounter.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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