Safety and Quality > Our Work > Indicators of Safety and Quality > Patient-Reported Outcome Measures

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) are questionnaires which patients complete. They ask for the patient’s assessment of how health services and interventions have, over time, affected their quality of life, daily functioning, symptom severity, and other dimensions of health which only patients can know. PROMs promise to fill a vital gap in our knowledge about outcomes and about whether healthcare interventions actually make a difference to people’s lives.

The current situation in Australia

In Australia, PROMs are an emerging method of assessing the quality of health care. While exciting and innovative work is happening in many places, PROMs are not yet embedded in routine measurement at regional, jurisdictional or national level.

In late 2016, the Commission contracted the University of Wollongong to conduct an environmental scan of the Australian healthcare sector. It gives detail about the current situation in Australia regarding the collection and use of patient-reported outcome measures.

PROMs Environmental Scan (PDF 2MB) (Word 661KB)

International evidence and best practice

To complement this picture of what is happening in Australia, the Commission also contracted the University of Wollongong to complete a literature review, to learn about how PROMs are used in international health systems similar to Australia’s. The intention was to build up a detailed picture of best practice and to learn from other countries’ experiences.

In particular, we were interested in answering four questions:

  1. What is the rationale for collecting patient-reported outcome information?
  2. What mechanisms are used internationally for the routine collection and aggregation of patient-reported outcome information at national or state/province level, and are there particular patient-reported outcome measures and conditions which are more commonly aggregated and reported at this level?
  3. What are the reported uses of patient-reported outcome information in terms of quality and safety improvement?
  4. What have been the reported impacts, benefits and challenges of collection of patient-reported outcome information at national or state/province level?

PROMs Literature Review (PDF 917KB)
 (Word 591KB)

Appendices with detailed supplementary tables:

Using PROMs to improve quality

The Commission is currently scoping an appropriate role at national level to support the consistent and routine use of PROMs to drive quality improvement in a way that brings patients’ voices and outcomes to the fore. This project will involve a consultation process, and more information will appear on this page as the work progresses.


For more information please contact:

Dr Jennifer Plumb

Project Manager, Person-centred Measurement