“Assessment, action and accountability: Achieving optimal patient-centered outcomes through quality of life research”

By: Deborah M. Miller, PhD and Kathleen J. Yost, PhD
2019 Scientific Program Committee Co-Chairs

The ISOQOL Annual Conference was a great time to re-connect, network, welcome new members to our organization, and to contribute to an international discussion to advance theory, methods and application of quality of life research in the pursuit of optimal patient-centered outcomes.

A record-breaking 637 registrants from a variety of fields and career stages attended this year’s conference, and many events were filled to capacity. On Sunday, we offered seven excellent pre-conference workshops that focused on diverse and timely topics, ranging from digital storytelling and latent variable measurement invariance to implementation science.

New in 2019 were the concurrent oral briefs, which offered a great opportunity to give a short, 5-7 minute verbal presentation in a group setting. This allowed for a greater number of podium presentations at the conference. Feedback on the new oral briefs format from both presenters and those in the audience was positive.

Plenary Sessions

The four plenary sessions this year provided opportunities to hear from some of the top researchers in our field as well as from several voices new to ISOQOL. The first plenary on “Assessment” discussed the types of measures that can be used as end-points for patient-centered research including PROMs, clinical outcome assessments, and surrogate outcomes and the implications of the choices of outcomes for policy and patient care.

Another session featured cutting edge research selected from among the top abstracts submitted by ISOQOL members, while Tuesday’s session on “Action” provided a platform to discuss how patient-centered outcomes research and patient-centered care can be strengthened through Implementation Science. The final plenary on “Accountability” explored how we can expand the use of PROMs and promote them as endpoints for assessing health care quality, clinical decision making and delivery of patient-centered care at the practice setting, within health care organizations, and between health care systems.

Special Interest Groups

ISOQOL’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were also very busy in San Diego. One highlight was the New Investigators SIG’s annual Tricks of the Trade Presentation: “How to develop a manuscript that will get published.” Another highlight included the four concurrent symposia hosted by SIGs on the pre-conference day. We want to thank all SIG Chairs for their time and hard work.


This year’s Roundtables included many hot topics in quality of life research, such as “How to peer review a paper” and “Developing Clinical Outcome Assessments for Regulatory Purposes.” Newer members also had the chance to meet with more experienced members in quality of life research during the Mentor/Mentee reception.

Other Conference News

Other business attended to in San Diego included the passing of the gavel to our new President, Dr. Lori Frank. A big thank you to Dr. Valderas for all of his work as President, and we look forward to his continued involvement with ISOQOL as Past President. A big thank you, as well, to Dr. Ida Korfage, ISOQOL’s departing Executive Board Member, for her years of service in the position. We welcome our two new Board Members: Drs. Antonia Bennett and Nalin Payakachat.

As usual, there were many opportunities to meet colleagues old and new, and have a little fun. The “Dine-Arounds” provided attendees a chance to network while experiencing some of the unique food San Diego has to offer. Thank you to the members and guests who toasted another successful year of quality of life research at the social event aboard the USS Midway Museum. The Welcome Reception on Sunday evening offered opportunities to network outside as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, and we held the first ISOQOL Bag Toss Tournament as part of the #MovethePlane campaign! Thank you to everyone who participated in the tournament and to those who have donated to the Travel Scholarship Fundraiser.

Thank you to all who were involved in the conference, including reviewers, judges, the Annual Conference Scientific Program Committee, and attendees. This conference would not have been possible without your dedication and involvement.

Now that the 2019 meeting is wrapped up, plans are already underway for the 2020 Annual Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Keep an eye on isoqol.org for more details in the weeks and months ahead, and be sure to save the date for 21-24 October 2020.

Thanks to those of you who joined us in California. We look forward to seeing you in the Czech Republic!

The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) is a global community of researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, industry professionals, consultants, and patient research partners advancing health related quality of life research (HRQL).

Together, we are creating a future in which patient perspective is integral to health research, care and policy.