How to Achieve Robust Measurement of Health Outcomes

Getting the most out of health outcome measures

Overview - Robust Measurement of Health Outcomes

Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) have potential to be an important component of healthcare decision making if used appropriately. If they are to play a central role in health care systems, we need evidence based measurement and better dialogue between policy makers, regulators, clinicians, patients, and psychometric methodologists.  This short course provides opportunity to learn about the complexities of using and interpreting PROMs in practice, to understand the available evidence to enable sound decisions about their use and to begin a dialogue between users of PROMs. 

This online course will introduce students to the importance of robust measurement of health-related constructs such as quality of life and provide an understanding of how this can be achieved. 

Who this course is for

The course is aimed at researchers (from academia, pharmaceutical industry and consultancy), clinicians and policy makers interested in gaining a greater understanding of the benefits of good measurement of patient-reported outcomes and the downfalls of inadequate measurement in the health context. 

Course leaders

The course will be led by an experienced team of psychometricians, who all have been working in this area for over 25 years: Dr Sarah Smith (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Professor John Browne (University College Cork), Dr Stefan Cano (Modus Outcomes).   

Dr Sarah Smith is a psychometrician with a background in psychology.  She has been working in the field of health outcomes and measurement since 1994 and has been teaching and training academics, clinicians and policy makers in health outcome measurement throughout that time.  She has particular expertise in conditions and populations where patient reports are challenging (most recently with patients with dementia and delirium) and has published widely on the development and evaluation of health-related outcome measures.  Sarah lead the initial review that contributed to the NHS PROMs programme in elective surgery and also the recent national initiative to evaluate Memory Assessment Services using PROMs with people with dementia.   

Professor John Browne is a health services researcher with a professional background in psychometrics. He has over 25 years experience in the world of outcome measurement as an academic, industry consultant and in UK health policy. He oversaw the development of the NHS Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) programme and has authored a number of publications on the implementation of similar initiatives. He is currently exploring the value of PROMs as a tool for engineering quality improvement in a variety of clinical areas including breast cancer surgery and joint replacement.

Dr Stefan Cano is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has 26 years’ experience in patient centred outcome measure (PCOM) development and psychometric research across a range of clinical and surgical disciplines. Stefan’s main area of interest is in developing, applying, and improving mixed methods psychometric research in clinical studies and therapeutic trials. He is especially interested in maximizing the interpretability of existing and new PCOMs. Stefan has published 180+ articles in PCO measurement in peer review journals (H-Index 57). He is also co-developer of Q-Portfolio patient reported outcome (PRO) measures (including BREAST-Q©, FACE-Q©, BODY-Q©, and CLEFT-Q©), which have been used widely in clinical research, clinical trials, clinical practice, quality improvement initiatives, clinical guidance, national registries, and national audit.

Course objectives
Course objectives - Robust Measurement Health Outcomes

Aims & objectives

This course will introduce students to the importance of robust measurement of health-related constructs such as quality of life and provide an understanding of how this can be achieved. 

By the end of the course, participants should be able to understand: 

  • the scientific approach to measurement;
  • the value of targeting your PROM to the patients and treatment of interest;
  • the role of purpose in shaping your outcome measurement plan;
  • what high value measurement looks like in the context of treatment effectiveness and cost-effectiveness;
  • when and how to incorporate PROMs when comparing healthcare providers;
  • how to get the most out of PROMs at the level of individual patient monitoring.

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered online in short daily sessions over two weeks from 5 - 16 July.  Participants are asked to attend each live online session (which will be recorded) and will include both didactic teaching and interactive group exercises. Participants will also need to complete the homework task for each session and to contribute to the Friday “clinic style” problem solving sessions at the end of each week. 

The course will cover 7 main topics.  The first three focus on the science of measurement:

  • Importance of content/construct;
  • Targeting the patients you are interested in;
  • The role of purpose in guiding your choice of outcome measure. 

The remaining topics focus on how to get the most out of your PROM in the following contexts:

  • Evaluating effectiveness of new treatments;
  • Determining utility;
  • Comparing healthcare provider outcomes;
  • Considering individual patient level care.
How to apply
How to apply - Robust Measurement of Health Outcomes

Applying for this course

Register your interest to be notified when applications open. 

Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.