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Patient-reported outcome measures in the interaction between patient and clinician – a multi-perspective qualitative study

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  • Caroline Trillingsgaard Mejdahl
  • Liv Marit Valen Schougaard
  • Niels Henrik Hjollund
  • Erik Riiskjær
  • Kirsten Lomborg
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Background: This article addresses patient-reported outcome (PRO)-based follow-up used as a substitute for regularly scheduled follow-ups. In PRO-based follow-up, patients’ PRO data filled in by the patients at home are used by clinicians as a decision aid to identify those who need clinical attention based on an automated PRO algorithm, clinical attention being either a phone call or a physical consultation. A physical consultation in the outpatient clinic prompted by the patient’s PRO is termed a “PRO consultation.” In this multi-perspective qualitative study, we explored the influence of patients’ self-reported data on patient-clinician interaction during PRO consultations in epilepsy outpatient clinics. Interpretive description was the methodological approach, applying data from participant observations, informal interviews with clinicians, and semi-structured interviews with clinicians and patients. Results: We found that application and deliberate use of patients’ PRO measures can affect patient-clinician interaction, promoting patient involvement in terms of improved communication and increased patient activation. These findings reflect the general patterns that have been reported in the literature. In addition, we found that PRO measures also may induce unmet expectations among some patients that can have a negative effect on patients’ experiences of the interaction and their follow-up experience in general. We extracted two thematic patterns that represent PRO measures’ potential for patient involvement in the patient-clinician interaction. The first pattern represents enablers, and the second pattern represents barriers for PRO measures to affect patient involvement. Conclusions: Applying PRO measures in clinical practice does not automatically enhance the patient-clinician interaction. To strengthen the benefits of PRO measures, the following supplementary clinical initiatives are suggested: summarizing and reporting the PRO measures back to the patient, considering carefully which PRO measures to include, training clinicians and assuring that the patients’ introduction to PRO-based follow-up clarifies expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalJournal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Communication, Interpretive description, Outpatient follow-up, Patient-clinician interaction, Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures, Qualitative research

ID: 59401788