The use of patient-reported outcome instruments (PRO) in clinical trials in order to capture the impacts of treatment on patients is widespread. However, regulatory agencies have over the past decade highlighted the need for PROs that are fit for purpose and target relevant aspects of the patient's condition. Many legacy PROs were developed with little patient input, are lengthy, and may lack relevance having not been modified or adapted as medical treatments have advanced. Computer-adaptive test (CAT) systems provide the possibility of targeted approaches to capturing patient-centric data, while minimising patient burden. Coupled with greater patient input in the development of PROs, CAT offers the opportunity of overcoming the shortcomings of the previous generation of PROs. This paper describes the some of the issues facing legacy PROs, current regulatory guidance, and initiatives, such as the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS), as well as the early signs of use of CAT to capture PRO data in clinical trials.