What is a PROM and why do we need it?

Michael R Krogsgaard, John Brodersen, Karl Bang Christensen, Volkert Siersma, Svend Kreiner, Jonas Jensen, Christian Fugl Hansen, Jonathan D Comins


The purpose of this article was to introduce the reader to the nature of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and pitfalls in their use. PROMs collect subjective information directly from the patient regarding specific or general conditions and add to clinical and functional outcomes, and turn unmeasurable subjective qualities into quantitative measures. PROMs are questionnaires consisting of items: questions or statements with predefined response options. The items in an adequate PROM have been developed by involvement of patients with the condition in focus, and the PROM has been validated for these patients using suitable statistical methods. An adequate well-targeted PROM is more responsive than an inadequate PROM. Unfortunately, many studies use inadequate PROMs as outcomes. The methods used to generate PROMs should be described as thoroughly as those used to develop any other types of measurement instruments, and the choice of PROM should always be explained and thereby justified. If the PROM used is not adequate, the consequences for the interpretation of the results should be discussed. In many cases, an adequate PROM does not exist. If the best available PROM is chosen, there are methods to validate the adequacy of the chosen PROM, which make an interpretation of the study results possible.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)967-971
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Athletic Injuries/therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Sports Medicine


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