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Annu Rev Med. 2014;65:307-17. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-010713-141500. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

New frontiers in patient-reported outcomes: adverse event reporting, comparative effectiveness, and quality assessment.

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Departments of Medicine and Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 97514; email:


Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are data elements directly reported by patients or their surrogates about experiences with care, including symptoms, functional status, or quality of life. PROs have commonly been evaluated in clinical trials for drug and medical device development. Interest is growing in the ability to integrate PROs into additional contexts, particularly product safety evaluation, comparative effectiveness research, and measurement of care quality. This interest reflects a growing focus on patient-centeredness in health care broadly and on provisions of the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Multiple initiatives demonstrate the feasibility and value of patient reporting in these areas. Inclusion of PROs in electronic health records and hospital patient portals, as well as longitudinal registries, can facilitate use of these data for multiple analytic purposes as well as enhance delivery of care and patient-provider communication. Challenges include the logistics and cost of implementing PRO programs; missing data, particularly from hard-to-reach and ill patients; and the need for standardization of outcome measures and electronic data representation. These challenges have been surmounted in limited initiatives and now must be translated to larger implementations.

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