Key methodological considerations for usability testing of electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) systems

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Recent advances in information technology and improved access to the internet have led to a rapid increase in the adoption and ownership of electronic devices such as touch screen smartphones and tablet computers. This has also led to a renewed interest in the field of digital health also referred to as telehealth or electronic health (eHealth). There is now a drive to collect these PROs electronically using ePRO systems.


However, the user interfaces of ePRO systems need to be adequately assessed to ensure they are not only fit for purpose but also acceptable to patients who are the end users. Usability testing is a technique that involves the testing of systems, products or websites with participants drawn from the target population. Usability testing can assist ePRO developers in the evaluation of ePRO user interface. The complexity of ePRO systems; stage of development; metrics to measure; and the use of scenarios, moderators and appropriate sample sizes are key methodological issues to consider when planning usability tests.


The findings from usability testing may facilitate the improvement of ePRO systems making them more usable and acceptable to end users. This may in turn improve the adoption of ePRO systems post-implementation. This article highlights the key methodological issues to consider and address when planning usability testing of ePRO systems
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation
Early online date18 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2019


  • Digital health
  • Electronic patient-reported outcomes
  • Electronic systems
  • PROs
  • Telehealth
  • Usability testing
  • eHealth
  • ePRO systems
  • ePROM
  • ePROs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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