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Improving Interpretation of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Health Care

Principal Investigator: Drs. Rick Sawatzky and Tolulope Sajobi

Status: Ongoing

CHÉOS Scientist Dr. Rick Sawatzky and colleagues recently received an Operating Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop and implement methods that will enhance accurate measurement of patient-reported outcomes in health care. This three-year grant enables Principal Investigators Dr. Sawatzky and Dr. Tolulope Sajobi (University of Calgary) to collaborate with investigators and knowledge users across Canada.

Researchers are looking to accommodate inconsistencies in responses to patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs)—questionnaire-style tools used to obtain information from patients about their health and quality of life. An important challenge in the use of these tools is that patients may not understand or interpret questions about their health and quality of life in the same way as other patients who have similar health outcomes (differential item functioning), or their interpretations may change over time (response shift). These inconsistencies are often difficult to detect and, if ignored, could lead to incorrect interpretations about outcomes of health care based on PROMs information.

Dr. Sawatzky and colleagues are exploring methods to test for these inconsistencies, and will be evaluating their effectiveness using various data sources, including existing registry data on patients who had elective surgery for knee or hip replacements. The overall goal is to improve the ability to accurately interpret patient-reported outcomes in health care evaluation.

Health research in the heart of Vancouver