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Psychooncology. 2009 Nov;18(11):1129-38. doi: 10.1002/pon.1545.

Improving patient outcomes through the routine use of patient-reported data in cancer clinics: future directions.

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Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG), School of Psychology, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.



Recent reviews suggest that the routine use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in cancer clinics improves the processes of care but not patient outcomes such as quality of life or satisfaction. We set out to identify future strategies for (1) interventions to impact patient outcomes and (2) trials to identify treatment effects.


MEDLINE and PsycINFO were systematically searched to identify reports of relevant randomized controlled trials. Intervention and trial designs were compared and contrasted along the parameters identified by previous reviews and the rationales reported in each article. Results were cross-referenced with evidence for impact to develop recommendations.


Six articles were identified. Evidence for impact on patient outcomes was limited. Interventions varied according to the PROMs used, the frequency, content and presentation of feedback, and the training offered to medical teams. Trials varied in their unit of randomization, outcome measures, control of contamination, monitoring of PROM use, and length of follow-up. Our analysis identified the need for future interventions to ensure that PROM data are used to optimum effect and for trials to control for contamination and monitor use of PROMs to link this with outcomes.


Future interventions should motivate and equip health professionals to use PROM data in managing patients, train patients in self-efficacy, use more specific PROMs in clinic, improve the interpretability of feedback for both medical staff and patients, and monitor the use of PROMs to intervene when problems arise. Future trials should use a cluster-randomized design to control for contamination and enable systems-based interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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