An international, multidisciplinary consensus set of patient-centered outcome measures for substance-related and addictive disorders

Nicola Black, Sophie Chung, Calvert Tisdale, Luz Sousa Fialho, Apinun Aramrattana, Sawitri Assanangkornchai, Alex Blaszczynski, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Wim van den Brink, Adrian Brown, Qiana L Brown, Linda B Cottler, Maury Elsasser, Marica Ferri, Maria Florence, Ralitza Gueorguieva, Ryan Hampton, Suzie Hudson, Peter J Kelly, Nicholas LintzerisLynette Murphy, Abhijit Nadkarni, Joanne Neale, Daniel Rosen, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, Brian Rush, Gabriel Segal, Gillian W. Shorter, Marta Torrens, Christopher Wait, Katherine Young, Michael Farrell

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Background: In 1990, the United States’ Institute of Medicine promoted the principles of outcomes monitoring in the alcohol and other drug treatment field to improve the evidence synthesis and quality of research. While various national outcome measures have been developed and employed, no global consensus on standard measurement has been agreed for addiction: it is thus timely to build international consensus. Convened by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM), an international, multi-disciplinary working group reviewed the existing literature and reached consensus for a globally applicable minimum Set of outcome measures for people who seek treatment for addiction.

Methods: Twenty-six addiction experts from 11 countries and five continents, including people with lived experience (n=5; 19%) convened over 16 months (December 2018-March 2020) to develop recommendations for a minimum Set of Outcome Measures,. A structured, consensus-building, modified Delphi process was employed. Evidence-based proposals for the minimum Set of measures were generated and discussed across eight videoconferences and in a subsequent structured online consultation. The resulting Set was reviewed by 123 professionals and 34 people with lived experience internationally.

Results: The final consensus-based recommendation includes alcohol, substance, and tobacco use disorders, as well as gambling and gaming disorders in people aged 12 years and older. Recommended outcome domains are quantity-frequency of addictive disorders, symptom burden, health-related quality of life, global functioning, psychosocial functioning, and overall physical and mental health and wellbeing. Standard case-mix (moderator) variables and measurement time points are also recommended.

Conclusions: Use of consistent and meaningful outcome measurement facilitates carer-patient relations, shared decision-making, service improvement, benchmarking, and evidence synthesis for evaluation of addiction treatment services and dissemination of best practices. The consensus Set of recommended outcomes is freely available for adoption in healthcare settings globally.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2154
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 08 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Authorship is alphabetical


  • consensus set
  • outcome measures
  • patient-centred
  • delphi
  • substance use
  • addictive disorders
  • gaming disorder
  • gambling disorder
  • core outcome set


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