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

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Background and objectives: 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. Major findings: 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. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1417
Number of pages11
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Electronic health record
  • Internet
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Web-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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