Outcome measurement—a scoping review of the literature and future developments in palliative care clinical practice

Bárbara Antunes, Pedro Pereira Rodrigues, Irene J. Higginson, Pedro Lopes Ferreira


The aim of this scoping review is to give an overview and appraisal of the development of outcome measurement throughout time and its present importance to healthcare and specifically to palliative care clinical practice. It is based on a search and search results of a published systematic review on implementing patient reported outcome measures in palliative care clinical practice. Medline, PsycInfo, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase and British Nursing Index were systematically searched from 1985. Hand searching of reference lists for all included articles and relevant review articles was performed. A total of 3,863 articles were screened. Sixty were included in this scoping review. Outcome measurement has a long history in health care and some of the strongest advocates were Florence Nightingale for using patient outcomes besides mortality rates, Codman for the “end result idea” of evaluating the patient status one year after orthopaedic surgery, and Donabedian for taking Codman’s work further and developing the structure-process-outcome model. The contribution of patient-centred outcome measurement is vast and paramount in education, audit and as an informative tool for healthcare professionals and decision makers. It is possible to collect these data nationwide which would then allow for cross country comparisons, as well as, economic evaluations in palliative care interventions to contribute to appropriate resource allocation.