Implementing Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Inpatient Rehabilitation: Challenges and Solutions

Allen W. Heinemann*, Kristian P. Nitsch, Kristen Gracz, Linda Ehrlich-Jones, Edeth Engel, Meghan Wilson, Colleen Zale, Ian D. Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A project with the goal of implementing electronic health record (EHR)–based patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) into a large inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation program took twice as long as expected. This report details the lessons learned from the barriers, successes, and unexpected issues that arose during this prolonged, but now successful, project. The goals of this implementation project were to (1) identify barriers and supports to the use of PROMs; (2) develop an implementation strategy to incorporate the use of PROMs into inpatient rehabilitation; and (3) implement the strategy and evaluate its effects on team communication. In brief, we conducted an initial pilot phase outside of the EHR and used our findings to guide procedural and EHR incorporation during a demonstration phase. We encountered multiple barriers. Procedural issues were significant; although grant funding covered the cost of writing the code for integration of the PROMs into the EHR, our institution's competing priorities slowed progress. Institutional inertia was reflected in the reluctance of some clinical staff members to assume new duties that would take away from direct patient care responsibilities. Therefore, we needed to obtain additional staffing. Detailed planning upfront, guided by changes when necessary; cooperation and interaction with our institution's Information Systems department; and identification of key players and Implementation Champions proved essential to our success. We now have an up-and-running system and are sharing our experience, observations, and recommendations to assist other health care organizations incorporate PROMs into their EHRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S67-S77
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Electronic health records
  • Patient reported outcome measures
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementing Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Inpatient Rehabilitation: Challenges and Solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this