Originally published in Bench to Bedside, the CHOP Research monthly publication
I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigators.
“How tired do you feel?” a doctor asks a child with a chronic disease. Or, “How well are you managing stress?”
The answers to questions like these are even more important, from many patients’ and families’ perspectives, than the particular numerical result of their lab test results.
But the answers are less useful to doctors than they could be. Doctors do not have validated tools to use such patient-reported outcomes to track progress managing a condition over time in the same way they can compare results of blood tests over time. In clinical research, they are unable to compare the answers across patients to ultimately show an experimental drug meaningfully improves fatigue or other patient-reported measures.
“Our vision is that patient-reported outcomes become like lab tests,” said Christopher Forrest, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Soon doctors will use patient-reported outcomes to monitor patients’ clinical care in the same way they use lab tests or X-rays.”
Dr. Forrest and colleagues at CHOP and partner institutions received a new grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance the science of patient-reported outcome measures to one day achieve that vision.