Patient and clinician opinions of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in the management of patients with rare diseases: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • College of Medical and Dental Sciences, The University of Birmingham
  • Birmingham Childrens and Womens Hospital


Background: Rare diseases may be life-threatening or chronically debilitating conditions. Patient care needs are often complex and challenging to coordinate and deliver effectively. Rare diseases and their clinical management may therefore substantially impact on patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) may complement clinical assessments by elucidating patients’ perspectives on their health status and care priorities. This study explored the opinions of patients and clinicians on the use of PROMs in the management of patients with rare diseases in routine clinical practice.

Methods: A total of 15 semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with four patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC); five renal transplant recipients; and six PSC doctors from University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust. A focus group session was also conducted with 10 clinical staff members (doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals from UHB). The suitability and acceptability of the Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire (CLDQ) and the Short Form 12 (SF12) were assessed by patients with PSC and their doctors while the Paediatric quality of life inventory Transplant Module (PedsQL-TM) and the EuroQoL-5 dimensions (EQ5D) were evaluated by the renal transplant recipients and their doctors. The discussions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Coding of the transcripts was done using the Nvivo 11 Plus software. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify the main themes and subthemes.

Results: Four themes were identified, namely: (i) potential benefits of PROMs in the management of rare diseases; (ii) views on selected questionnaires; (iii) practical considerations for implementation; and (iv) potential facilitators and barriers of implementation. Patients and clinicians suggested that the use of ePROMs may facilitate patient-centred care by promoting patient-clinician communication, highlighting aspects of HRQOL that are important to patients and encouraging patient involvement in their care. They also felt that the disease-specific CLDQ and PedsQL-TM were more relevant than the generic SF12 and EQ-5D.

Conclusions: Patients with rare diseases often experience impaired HRQOL. The use of an ePROM system may enhance the routine management of patients with rare diseases.


Original languageEnglish
Article number177
Number of pages12
JournalHealth and Quality Life Outcomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


  • Cholestasis, HRQOL, Health-related quality of life, PROMs, Patient involvement, Patient reported outcome measures, Primary sclerosing cholangitis, Qualitative study, Rare diseases, Rare disorders, Renal transplant, Transitioning, ePROMs