Making results of patient-reported outcomes interpretable

Topic category Other methods for preparing systematic reviews
Date and Location
Monday 1 October 2012 - 13:30 - 15:00
Methods Group
Methods Group: 
Patient Reported Outcomes Methods Group
Contact persons and facilitators
Contact person Affiliation Country
Iliana Petkova (Contact this person) MAPI Research Trust France
Facilitator Affiliation Country
Gordon Guyatt McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences Canada
Donald Patrick University of Washington USA
Target audience
Target audience: 
Review authors
Is your workshop restricted to a specific audience or open to all Colloquium participants?: 
Level of knowledge required: 
Type of workshop
Type of workshop: 
Abstract text
Patient-reported outcomes include reports of symptoms, health-related quality of life and patient satisfaction. Patient-reported outcomes are typically primary outcomes; in other areas they complement measures of morbidity and mortality. Patient-reported outcomes often present unique challenges in interpretation faced much less by other outcomes. Many of those who use Cochrane reviews will be unfamiliar with the instruments used to measure patient experience, and find the significance of the differences expressed in natural units obscure (e.g. the pooled differences between intervention and control was five units on instrument x). The challenge is compounded when several instruments using different units measure the same construct, requiring standardised units for aggregation across studies.

This workshop will address available methods to make patient-reported outcomes understandable to readers of Cochrane reviews. Concepts that will be introduced include the minimal important difference (the smallest difference that would motivate a patient to use an intervention), the dichotomisation of outcomes (e.g. proportion of patients who achieve a minimal important difference), and alternatives to the standardised mean difference as an approach to aggregating across different instruments measuring the same construct. The workshop will provide participants with the tools to make patient-reported outcomes interpretable to readers of their Cochrane reviews.