Purpose: Patient-reported outcome (PRO) questionnaires are being investigated for their ability to aid in individual patient management. We evaluated whether PROs can identify patients' most bothersome quality-of-life issues and compared approaches for interpreting PRO scores. Methods: This secondary data analysis included 130 patients with cancer (mean age, 57 years; 71% female) receiving outpatient palliative chemotherapy. Patients completed a PRO (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire [QLQ-C30]) at up to three consecutive visits and reported one or two of their most bothersome function and symptom issues from categories based on QLQ-C30 domains. We compared two approaches for interpreting PRO scores and identified which way better identified patients' most bothersome issues: worst scores in absolute terms or worst change from the previous time point. Results: For patients reporting one bothersome issue, absolute scores identified it correctly 91% of the time for both function and symptoms versus change scores' accuracy of 40% for function and 26% for symptoms. For patients reporting two bothersome issues, absolute scores identified at least one correctly 98% of the time for both function and symptoms versus change scores' 63% for function and 62% for symptoms. Absolute scores identified both issues correctly 42% of the time for function and 66% of the time for symptoms versus change scores' performance of 23% for both function and symptoms. Conclusion: Absolute scores identify patients' most bothersome quality-of-life issues better than change scores. These results support the use of PROs in clinical practice and suggest that clinicians may want to focus on the worst absolute scores when examining PRO score reports.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research