Angela C. Wolff, PhD RN; Liv Marit Valen Schougaard, PhD RN; and Elizabeth J. Austin, PhD MPH
Chair-Elect, Past-Chair, and Chair of the QOL in Clinical Practice SIG

The QOL in Clinical Practice Special Interest Group (CP-SIG) was formed by researchers and clinicians who are interested in health related quality of life (QOL) assessment to improve clinical practice. Although this SIG started with application of QOL, it has now been broadened to include all patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs/PROs). Thus, the CP-SIG is unique in that it focuses on methodology and implementation initiatives to advance the effective integration of data from PROMs across different clinical settings to meet the specific needs for preventive care (screening), chronic care (monitory symptoms and functions), and population-based care (interventional care such as oncology and surgery). The goals of using PROMs in clinical practice is to facilitate holistic patient-centered care by improving communication, increasing awareness of psychosocial problems, and promoting patients’ self-management. Moreover, PROMs promote real-time monitoring of symptoms and toxicities making possible timely clinical interventions and treatments, if needed, as well as flexible scheduling of follow-up with healthcare providers. CP-SIG members aim to understand and rigorously apply implementation science to advance best practices for PROM implementation across a variety of clinical settings and care needs.

Implementation science (IS) refers to theoretical frameworks to guide initiatives where PROMs are integrated into routine clinical care of users of the healthcare system (e.g., patients, families, and their caregivers). There are many types of IS frameworks that aim to understand and/or explain the barriers and facilitators that influence implementation outcomes (e.g., determinists frameworks such as Theoretical Domains Framework and Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research) and guide the implementation process (e.g., implementation theories such as the Normalisation Process Theory). For more information, view the articles “Normalisation process theory: a framework for developing, evaluating and implementing complex interventions” and “Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks.”

Implementation science acknowledges the dynamic relationships between individual clinicians and the wider context of the intervention (e.g., organizational context, structures, professional scopes of practice, patient engagement and so forth). Not only is it useful for planning but also the evaluation about the effectiveness of PROMs. For further information about how implementation science can be applied to PROMs integration, see the publication by the former CP-SIG co-chair, Dr. Angela Stover, and colleagues (2020) entitled, “Using an implementation science approach to implement and evaluate patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) initiatives in routine care settings.” The journal Quality of Life Research volume 30 (issue 11) series has four additional papers to further illustrate the use of an implementation science approach. Furthermore, each year at the annual ISOQOL conference, the SIG members offer workshops, symposia, and presentations on this topic. Be sure to check out the line-up for the 2023 ISOQOL Annual Conference.

The ultimate objective of the CP-SIG is to bring together individuals who are interested in using PROMs to better involve, manage and treat individual patients, as well as using these data for collaborative clinical decision-making and improving clinical practice. To achieve this objective, CP-SIG provides a wide range of collaborative opportunities for our members. Annual conference meetings and surveys have aimed to connect CP-SIG members with shared interests and to identify pressing topics in the field of PROMs in clinical practice. Prior and current CP-SIG workgroups have explored, for example, strategies to engage clinicians in PROM adoption, the unique implementation needs of PROMs used for screening or in telehealth contexts, the role of complexity science, and best practices for stakeholder engagement in PROM implementation research. CP-SIG also routinely partners with other SIGs to address cross-cutting topics and foster collaboration that supports the work of its members.

Upcoming events for CP-SIG members:

 The CP-SIG has some events coming up for ISOQOL members.

  1. Members have been asking about a workshop to support clinicians in the integration of PROs in clinical practice. This year in Calgary will be a preconference workshop by several researchers in the field: Making PROMs Work in Practice Settings: Practical Strategies to Support their Implementation by Healthcare Providers. The full-day workshop is on Wednesday, 18 October. Registration limited. To get the most from this workshop, participants should have an intermediate knowledge level about PROMs in clinical practice and the overall implementation process (e.g., selected PROMs and/or implementation experience). Having a PROMs initiative to design implementation supports (e.g., training, practice supports, interpretation tools, and decision-making aids) is beneficial.
  2. Mark your calendars! The CP-SIG will be hosting regular webinars to network and learn about the exciting implementation of PROMs into clinical practice research going on amongst its members. The new series will be called Work in Progress (WIP) webinar. The next webinar is tentatively set for 19 September, at 0800 hours PST via Zoom (go to Teamwork to stay tuned for details). Please post in Teamwork if you have something to share and can attend that meeting.
  3. If you have a specific interest within the SIG, we also have workgroups that meet on the following topics: Implementation science and PROMs, clinical training, reducing disparities, applying PROMs to clinical decision making, educating patients, self-management and PROMs, PROMs for screening, using PROMs for triaging and high risk groups, pediatric PROMs, PROMs in telehealth, and rare disease PROMs. Please let us know if you have a topic that you wish to add.
  4. At the IQOQOL 30th Annual Conference the Annual Clinical Practice SIG Business Meeting is on October 20th at 11:40 to 12:40. In this meeting, we will share updates on implementation research and CP-SIG-led projects, discuss members goals for the coming year, and offer opportunities to collaborate with one another on current and emerging implementation topics.

Other ways to get involved in CP-SIG are to post your work and ideas on (how to access Teamwork see here) or the more recently introduced Teamwork mobile app. Finally, you can follow us on twitter at #ISOQOL_CP.

If you have any questions about the QOL in Clinical Practice SIG, feel free to reach out to the current co-chairs via Teamwork or the ISOQOL website, Elizabeth Austin and Angela Wolff.

This newsletter editorial represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ISOQOL. 

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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.