BACKGROUND: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are important tools to inform patients, clinicians and policy-makers about clinical need and the effectiveness of any given treatment. Consistent PROM use can promote early symptom detection, help identify unexpected treatment responses and improve therapeutic engagement. Very few studies have examined associations between patient characteristics and PROM data collection.
METHODS: We used the electronic mental health records for 28,382 children and young people (aged 4-17 years) accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across four South London boroughs between the 1st of January 2008 to the 1st of October 2017. We examined the completion rates of the caregiver Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a ubiquitous PROM for CAMHS at baseline and 6-month follow-up.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: SDQs were present for approximately 40% (n = 11,212) of the sample at baseline, and from these, only 8% (n = 928) had a follow-up SDQ. Patterns of unequal PROM collection by sociodemographic factors were identified: males were more likely (aOR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.13), whilst older age (aOR 0.87, 95% CI 0.87-0.88), Black (aOR 0.79 95% CI 0.74-0.84) and Asian ethnicity (aOR 0.75 95% CI 0.66-0.86) relative to White ethnicity, and residence within the most deprived neighbourhood (aOR 0.87 95% CI 0.80-0.94) were less likely to have a record of baseline SDQ. Similar results were found in the sub-group (n = 11,212) with follow-up SDQ collection. Our findings indicate systematic differences in the currently available PROMS data and highlights which groups require increased focus if we are to gain equitable PROM collection. We need to ensure representative PROM collection for all individuals accessing treatment, regardless of ethnic or socioeconomic background; biased data have adverse ramifications for policy and service level decision-making.