Patient Reported Outcomes

Patient Reported Outcomes


Understanding what happens to patients who are treated with radiotherapy

Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) are recognized as an essential component to supporting improved quality of life and survivorship for those undergoing cancer treatment. While PRO can be used to assess the impact cancer treatment has on a patients quality of life and well-being, they can also be used to help understand how specific treatments, such as radiotherapy, can affect a patient by helping to identify symptoms and toxicity they experience throughout their care.

In 2017 CPQR launched an initiative to support the increased use of PRO in routine clinical care across Canada.

What is CPQR’s approach?

CPQR identified two areas where it saw the greatest opportunity to make a difference – by supporting both local and system improvement.

Creating opportunities for local improvement

From 2017-2019 CPQR supported the translation of BC Cancer’s Prospective Outcomes and Support Initiative (POSI) to other RT programs across the country.  POSI was seen as a program to emulate due to its nimble “real time” approach to the collection and review of PRO during patient encounters.  Today a POSI model is being integrated into centres affiliated with Dalhousie University Department of Radiation Oncology and being considered by centres in the prairies.  This piloting will continue to be undertaken through centre leadership and monitored by CPQR.

CPQR has also begun to investigate opportunities to support a consistent approach to “what PRO” should be collected for specific types of cancer.  Building on a robust measure selection process developed by Cancer Care Ontario, CPQR recommended use of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for Head and Neck (MDASI-HN) for patients being treated for curative head and neck cancer.  It has also recommended the commonly used Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) for patients with metastatic bone disease.  Stay tuned for more advances in this area!

Creating opportunities for system improvement

Building on the success of its prior guidance documents, CPQR has committed to developing a set of guidance recommendations around the collection and use of PRO for radiation treatment.  A series of comprehensive guided interviews were conducted during 2018 and will help inform the development of the guidance document.

What are the long-term objectives?

Understanding the role PROs can play in improving the quality of patient care will support the development of a knowledge translation program within radiation treatment programs, and across the country to improve the delivery of radiation treatment to individual patients and patient populations.