Submission Type

Case Study


Electronic Health Records, Data Collection, Health Services Research, Patient-Reported Outcomes, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Research Informatics


Introduction: Advances in health policy, research, and information technology have converged to increase the electronic collection and use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Therefore, it is important to share lessons learned in implementing PROs in research information systems.

Case Description: The purpose of this case study is to describe a novel information system for electronic PROs and lessons learned in implementing that system to support research in an academic health center. The system incorporates freely available and commercial software and involves clinical and research workflows that support the collection, transformation, and research use of PRO data. The software and processes that comprise the system serve three main functions, (i) collecting electronic PROs in clinical care, (ii) integrating PRO data with non-patient generated clinical data, and (iii) disseminating data to researchers through the institution’s research informatics infrastructure, including the i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) system.

Strategies: Our successful design and implementation was driven by three overarching strategies. First, we selected and implemented multiple interfaced technologies to support PRO collection, management, and research use. Second, we aimed to use standardized approaches to measuring PROs, sending PROs between systems, and disseminating PROs. Finally, we focused on using technologies and processes that aligned with existing clinical research information management strategies within our organization.

Conclusion: These experiences and lessons may help future implementers and researchers enhance the scale and sustainable use of systems for research use of PROs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.