Finlay J Pearce, Samantha Cruz Rivera, Xiaoxuan Liu, Elaine Manna, Alastair K Denniston, Melanie J Calvert
Lancet Digit Health . 2023 Mar;5(3):e160-e167. doi: 10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00249-7.
The extent to which patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used in clinical trials for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is unknown. In this systematic evaluation, we aim to establish how PROMs are being used to assess AI health technologies. We searched ClinicalTrials.gov for interventional trials registered from inception to Sept 20, 2022, and included trials that tested an AI health technology. We excluded observational studies, patient registries, and expanded access reports. We extracted data regarding the form, function, and intended use population of the AI health technology, in addition to the PROMs used and whether PROMs were incorporated as an input or output in the AI model. The search identified 2958 trials, of which 627 were included in the analysis. 152 (24%) of the included trials used one or more PROM, visual analogue scale, patient-reported experience measure, or usability measure as a trial endpoint. The type of AI health technologies used by these trials included AI-enabled smart devices, clinical decision support systems, and chatbots. The number of clinical trials of AI health technologies registered on ClinicalTrials.gov and the proportion of trials that used PROMs increased from registry inception to 2022. The most common clinical areas AI health technologies were designed for were digestive system health for non-PROM trials and musculoskeletal health (followed by mental and behavioural health) for PROM trials, with PROMs commonly used in clinical areas for which assessment of health-related quality of life and symptom burden is particularly important. Additionally, AI-enabled smart devices were the most common applications tested in trials that used at least one PROM. 24 trials tested AI models that captured PROM data as an input for the AI model. PROM use in clinical trials of AI health technologies falls behind PROM use in all clinical trials. Trial records having inadequate detail regarding the PROMs used or the type of AI health technology tested was a limitation of this systematic evaluation and might have contributed to inaccuracies in the data synthesised. Overall, the use of PROMs in the function and assessment of AI health technologies is not only possible, but is a powerful way of showing that, even in the most technologically advanced health-care systems, patients' perspectives remain central.