There is an urgent need for standardization of PROs in rheumatology. Only for the evaluation of pain and activity limitations in osteoarthritis, more than 30 PROs are available. Such variation is an obstacle to synthesis of research findings and a threat to scientific progress.
In order to standardize PROs in rheumatology, a three-step procedure is proposed.
(i) The International Classification of Functioning is available for standardization of concepts and terminology (ICF; WHO, 2001).
(ii) Systematic reviews provide information on the clinimetric qualities of PROs (reliability, validity and responsiveness).
(iii) As the final step, the international scientific community gathers and reaches consensus on a limited core set of PROs, for use in future clinical trials in rheumatology. The core set includes a generic PRO and a disease specific PRO for each major diagnostic category in rheumatology.
Standardization of PROs in rheumatology will contribute strongly to synthesis of knowledge obtained in separate clinical trials, thereby facilitating scientific progress.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared