Patient-rated symptom and health-related quality-of-life (HR-QOL) outcomes are important end-points for clinical trials of medical treatments for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Based on this review, patient outcomes research is focused on gastroesophageal reflux disease and dyspepsia, with a growing interest in irritable bowel syndrome but little research in gastroparesis. State-of-the-art for patient-rated symptom scales is rudimentary with an abundance of scales and little attention to systematic instrument development or comprehensive psychometric evaluation. Generally, disease-specific HR-QOL measures have been more systematically developed and evaluated psychometrically, but few have been incorporated into clinical trials. More comprehensive outcome assessments are needed to determine the effectiveness of new medical treatments for functional GI disorders. Future clinical trials of GI disorders should combine clinician assessments of outcomes and symptoms with patient-rated symptom and HR-QOL end-points.