Viewing assessments of patient-reported heath status as conversations: Implications for developing and evaluating patient-reported outcome measures.
Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are frequently used in research to reflect the patient's perspective. In this commentary, I argue that further improvements can be made in how we develop and evaluate PROMs by viewing assessment as a type of conversation. Philosophically speaking, a PROM assessment can be conceptualized as a formal conversation that serves as a model of an informal, longer, and more nuanced conversation with a research participant about their health experience. Psychologically speaking, evidence from research in survey methodology and discursive psychology shows that respondents to self-report measures behave in ways consistent with the idea that they are doing their best to participate in a conversation, albeit an unusual one. Several suggestions are offered for creating a better conversational context through study materials and PROM instructions, and by improving the yield of cognitive interviews. It is hoped that this commentary can stimulate further discussions in our field regarding how to integrate insights about the conversational nature of assessment from survey research and discursive psychology to better reflect the patient's voice in research.
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