Patient-reported Outcomes in Practice: Clinicians’ Perspectives From an Inpatient Psychiatric Setting
The use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) has become increasingly common. They have been used to assess quality of care and to support policy decisions, but the evidence concerning their utility to improve patient outcomes is inconsistent. A better understanding of clinicians’ experience with PROs has the potential to improve their effectiveness. This exploratory, quantitative, and qualitative study investigated the perspectives of clinicians (N=70) from multiple disciplines (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses) on the utility of PROs in an inpatient psychiatric setting. During scheduled, monthly, discipline-specific administrative meetings, clinicians in attendance completed a 1-time, 5-item survey. The highest rated item related to the frequency of reviewing outcomes reports; this item was rated higher than all other items (mean±SD, 4.5±1.5), which 37.5% of the participants in the overall sample stated they “always” did. The lowest rated item related to the frequency of conveying the results of the outcomes reports to patients (3.3±1.9), which 20% of participants reported “always” doing; this item was rated lower than all other items (P<0.03). Qualitative analyses were based on 30 comments from 22 clinicians, which resulted in the emergence of 6 themes. The 2 themes that received the highest number of comments related to: (1) the sensitivity and specificity of measures across the PROs platform and (2) the value of the reports in directly influencing treatment decisions. Clinicians’ relatively favorable perspective of PROs in practice in this study may be related to the assessment-oriented culture at the study institution. Nonetheless, many barriers to the routine use of PROs exist. Addressing clinician concerns has the potential to improve utilization of this facet of good clinical care.