What are Clinician-Reported Outcomes (ClinROs)?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

What are Clinician-Reported Outcomes (ClinROs)?

By Aimee Lee Russell, Associate, Programs

On Thursday, September 12, John Powers, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Professor of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, at George Washington University spoke about clinician-reported outcomes (ClinROs) and their importance in clinical research as part of the NHC’s 10th webinar in our Clinical Outcome Assessment (COA) series.

Dr. Powers shared that a clinician-reported outcome (ClinRO) is a “report that comes from a trained health-care professional after he/she observes a patient’s health condition. ClinROs are generated by clinical judgement or interpretation of a patient’s observable signs, physical manifestations, and/or behaviors related to a condition or disease.” A ClinRO is based upon what that clinician observes. For example, a clinician can observe that a patient appears to be in pain. But, that clinician cannot report on that patient’s pain level.  Only the patient can do that.

So, when is a ClinRO appropriate to use in clinical research instead of using a direct patient report like a patient-reported outcome (PRO) measure? A ClinRO is an appropriate measure to use when:

  • A clinician can make accurate assessments of observations that reflect patient feeling, function, or predict survival. For example, a clinician listens to wheezing during a lung exam. Patients don’t typically listen to their own lungs.
  • Patients are unable to self-report on their own health status due to mental or physical impairment or age (e.g., neonates).

Dr. Powers stressed that if a patient is able to directly assess the concept or “thing” being measured, for example through a PRO, that is more desirable than using a ClinRO. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that patient engagement is still important when developing ClinROs because whether it is the patient or a provider making assessment, the “thing” being measured should be something important to patients.

To learn more about ClinROs, please watch Dr. Power’s presentation.