Clinicians need evidence-based medicine to help them make clinical decisions with their patients. For many health problems, the goal of treatment is to help the patient to function and feel better. To measure patient functioning, well-being, and symptoms, questionnaires referred to as patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures are often used. Clinicians are generally not trained in survey design, scale development, and questionnaire administration, making it difficult for them to interpret and effectively use PROs as clinical evidence. It is increasingly important that clinicians be able to understand and use outcomes measured from both the clinical and patient perspectives to inform their practice. We aim to provide a Clinician's Checklist to help practicing clinicians understand clinical research articles that include PROs so that the information can be used for decision making. This checklist provides an itemization of important areas for the reader to consider in evaluating research articles. We propose that clinicians consider 5 elements when reading a study using PROs: study design and PRO assessment strategy, PRO measure performance, validity of results, context of the findings, and generalizability to their own patient population. Patient-reported outcomes play an increasingly prominent role in clinical research and practice, and this trend has the potential to improve the patient-centeredness of care. Clinicians will need to understand how to use PROs to partner with patients and help them function and feel better. The proposed Clinician's Checklist can help clinicians systematically evaluate PRO studies by determining whether the study design was appropriate and whether the measurement approach was adequate and properly executed as well as by assisting in the interpretation and application of the results to a specific patient population.
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