Exploring the facilitators and barriers third sector organisations experience when implementing Patient Reported Outcome Measures


by Dr Alexis Foster

Over the last three years we have been exploring the facilitators and barriers third sector organisations (TSOs) (also known as charities and community groups) experience when implementing Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs). This includes measures like the Warwick Edinburgh Mental-Wellbeing Scale and the Outcome Star. 

We undertook a mixed methods study which included:

  • Exploring the facilitators and barriers to implementing PROMs in healthcare services – a systematic review of reviews. The findings are available here
  • 30 interviews with a range of stakeholders about their experiences of PROMs in TSOs
  • Supporting 2 TSOs with implementing PROMs using a community-based participatory research approach.

We found that TSOs are using PROMs to demonstrate their impact to current and future funders. Despite this motivation, TSOs struggle with using PROMs and need to invest time and resources into implementation. Key is having an Implementation Lead, who is someone within the organisation who champions and progresses the use of PROMs. TSOs should choose a measure suitable for them, this varies between organisations. TSOs also need to consider when PROMs will be used and how the data will be collected, analysed and used. Workers require on-going training and support to use PROMs. Organisations often experience problems when they first use PROMs, and need to make improvements to the process. Many of the findings appear relevant to other healthcare services.

We have co-designed a toolkit and map of the implementation process. Their purpose is to support organisations, commissioners and researchers with using PROMs. Whilst focused on TSOs, the resources may be useful to anyone trying to use PROMs. 

The toolkit is available here.

The map of the implementation process is available here.

For further information, please email: alexis.foster@sheffield.ac.uk.

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