Patient-reported outcomes in Alberta: rationale, scope, and design of a database initiative

C. A. Cuthbert, L. Watson, Y. Xu, D. J. Boyne, B. R. Hemmelgarn, W. Y. Cheung


Background The collection of patient reported outcomes (pros) is a standard of care in many cancer organizations. In Alberta, pros have been integrated into routine clinical practice since 2012. This longitudinal collection of pros provides a wealth of data and a unique research opportunity to improve cancer care. The goal of this pro data initiative is to establish a robust repository of information for ongoing clinical care and research focused on pros. In this paper, we describe the rationale, scope, and design of this initiative.

Implementation The initiative consists of pros and other administrative health data from the province of Alberta. Retrieval of health data from a variety of provincially governed sources will create a platform of information on pros, health outcomes, cancer data, other health conditions, and demographics. The aims of the initiative are to use the data to inform best practices at the point of care; to conduct health services research, particularly clinical epidemiology studies; and to evaluate a variety of pro-related outcomes.

Discussion Because this effort represents our first to integrate routinely collected pros with other administrative health data, a unique and robust data repository will be created. The ability to integrate various types of data will provide a comprehensive mechanism to evaluate a variety of outcomes. Because cancer care in Alberta is governed by a single health care system, the data linkages will include population health and psychosocial cancer data. We anticipate that research related to this initiative will ultimately help to inform more patient-centred care.


Patient-reported outcomes; pros; patient-centred care; health services research; administrative health data

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)