Measures of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are collected throughout healthcare systems and used in clinical, economic, and outcomes studies to direct patient-centered care and inform health policy. Studies have demonstrated increases in stressors unique to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, their effect on HRQOL is unknown. Our study aimed to assess the change in self-reported global health during the pandemic for patients receiving care in a large healthcare system compared with 1 year earlier.
An observational cross-sectional study of 2 periods was conducted including adult patients who had a healthcare appointment and completed the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health (PROMIS GH) as standard care during the COVID-19 pandemic and a year earlier. The effect of time on PROMIS global mental health (GMH) and global physical health (GPH) was evaluated through multiple statistical methods.
There were 38 037 patients (mean age 56.1 ± 16.6 years; 61% female; 87% white) who completed the PROMIS GH during the pandemic (August 2020) and 33 080 (age 56.7 ± 16.5 years; 61% female; 86% white) who had completed it 1 year earlier (August 2019). GMH was significantly worse, whereas GPH was similar during the pandemic compared with a year earlier (adjusted estimate [standard error]: −1.21 (0.08) and 0.11 (0.08) T-score points, respectively).
Our study found modest, nonclinically meaningful decreases in GMH and similar GPH during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with a year earlier in patients cared for in a large healthcare system. Nevertheless, healthcare systems are likely seeing a biased sample of patients during these times. Findings from our study have implications for the interpretation of HRQOL during this pandemic.
Brittany R. Lapin Wai Hong Wilson Tang Ryan Honomichl Olivia Hogue Irene L. Katzan