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04.11.2016 | Review | Ausgabe 2/2017 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 2/2017

The impact of patient-reported outcome measures in clinical practice for pain: a systematic review

Quality of Life Research > Ausgabe 2/2017
Michelle M. Holmes, George Lewith, David Newell, Jonathan Field, Felicity L. Bishop



Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) have increasingly been incorporated into clinical practice. Research suggests that PROMs could be viewed as active components of complex interventions and may affect the process and outcome of care. This systematic review examines PROMs in the context of treatment for non-malignant pain.


An electronic search on: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Cochrane Library and Web of Science identified relevant papers (February 2015). The inclusion criteria were: focused on implementing PROMs into clinical practice, adults, and primary data studies. Critical interpretive synthesis was used to synthesise qualitative and quantitative findings into a theoretical argument.


Thirteen eligible studies were identified. Synthesis suggested that PROMs may be included in the initial consultation to assess patients and for shared decision-making regarding patient care. During the course of treatment, PROMs can be used to track progress, evaluate treatment, and change the course of care; using PROMs may also influence the therapeutic relationship. Post-treatment, using PROMs might directly influence other outcomes such as pain and patient satisfaction. However, although studies have investigated these areas, evidence is weak and inconclusive.


Due to the poor quality, lack of generalisability and heterogeneity of these studies, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive understanding of how PROMs may impact clinical treatment of non-malignant pain. The literature suggests that PROMs enable pain assessment, decision-making, the therapeutic relationship, evaluation of treatment and may influence outcomes. Further research is needed to provide better evidence as to whether PROMs do indeed have any effects on these domains.

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