ISOQOL recommends minimum standards for patient-reported outcome measures used in patient-centered outcomes and comparative effectiveness research



An essential aspect of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER) is the integration of patient perspectives and experiences with clinical data to evaluate interventions. Thus, PCOR and CER require capturing patient-reported outcome (PRO) data appropriately to inform research, healthcare delivery, and policy. This initiative’s goal was to identify minimum standards for the design and selection of a PRO measure for use in PCOR and CER.


We performed a literature review to find existing guidelines for the selection of PRO measures. We also conducted an online survey of the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) membership to solicit input on PRO standards. A standard was designated as “recommended” when >50 % respondents endorsed it as “required as a minimum standard.”


The literature review identified 387 articles. Survey response rate was 120 of 506 ISOQOL members. The respondents had an average of 15 years experience in PRO research, and 89 % felt competent or very competent providing feedback. Final recommendations for PRO measure standards included: documentation of the conceptual and measurement model; evidence for reliability, validity (content validity, construct validity, responsiveness); interpretability of scores; quality translation, and acceptable patient and investigator burden.


The development of these minimum measurement standards is intended to promote the appropriate use of PRO measures to inform PCOR and CER, which in turn can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery. A next step is to expand these minimum standards to identify best practices for selecting decision-relevant PRO measures.

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This study was funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI-SOL-RMWG-001: PIs: Zeeshan Butt, PhD, Northwestern University; Bryce Reeve, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of PCORI.

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Correspondence to Bryce B. Reeve.

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This study was conducted on behalf of the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL).

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Reeve, B.B., Wyrwich, K.W., Wu, A.W. et al. ISOQOL recommends minimum standards for patient-reported outcome measures used in patient-centered outcomes and comparative effectiveness research. Qual Life Res 22, 1889–1905 (2013).

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  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Comparative effectiveness
  • Patient-centered outcomes research
  • Psychometrics
  • Questionnaire