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      Determination and comparison of the smallest detectable change (SDC) and the minimal important change (MIC) of four-shoulder patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs)

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          There is a need for better interpretation of orthopedic treatment effects. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are already commonly used for patient evaluation. PROMs can be used to determine treatment effects in research as well as in clinical settings by calculating change scores, with pre- and post-treatment evaluation. The smallest detectable change (SDC) and minimal important change (MIC) are two important benchmarks for interpreting these change scores. The purpose was to determine the SDC and the MIC for four commonly used shoulder-related PROMs: Simple Shoulder Test (SST), Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH and QuickDASH), and the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS).


          A cohort of 164 consecutive patients with shoulder problems visiting an orthopedic outpatient clinic completed the SST, DASH, and the OSS at their first visit and 6 months after operative or non-operative treatment. The SDC was calculated with a test re-test protocol (0–2 weeks). For the MIC, change scores (0–6 months of evaluation) were calculated in seven subgroups of patients, according to an additional self-administered ranking of change over time (anchor-based mean change technique). The MIC is defined as the average score of the ‘slightly improved’ group according to the anchor. The QuickDASH was computed from the DASH.


          The SDC of the SST was 2.8, DASH 16.3, QuickDASH 17.1, and OSS 6.0. The MIC change score for the SST was 2.2, DASH 12.4, QuickDASH 13.4, and OSS 6.0.


          This study shows that on an individual patient-based level, when taking into account SDC and MIC, the change score should exceed 2.8 points for the SST, 16.3 points for the DASH, 17.1 points for the QuickDASH, and 6.0 points for the OSS to have a clinically relevant change on a PROM, which is not due to measurement error.

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          Most cited references 41

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            The COSMIN checklist for assessing the methodological quality of studies on measurement properties of health status measurement instruments: an international Delphi study

            Background Aim of the COSMIN study (COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments) was to develop a consensus-based checklist to evaluate the methodological quality of studies on measurement properties. We present the COSMIN checklist and the agreement of the panel on the items of the checklist. Methods A four-round Delphi study was performed with international experts (psychologists, epidemiologists, statisticians and clinicians). Of the 91 invited experts, 57 agreed to participate (63%). Panel members were asked to rate their (dis)agreement with each proposal on a five-point scale. Consensus was considered to be reached when at least 67% of the panel members indicated ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’. Results Consensus was reached on the inclusion of the following measurement properties: internal consistency, reliability, measurement error, content validity (including face validity), construct validity (including structural validity, hypotheses testing and cross-cultural validity), criterion validity, responsiveness, and interpretability. The latter was not considered a measurement property. The panel also reached consensus on how these properties should be assessed. Conclusions The resulting COSMIN checklist could be useful when selecting a measurement instrument, peer-reviewing a manuscript, designing or reporting a study on measurement properties, or for educational purposes.
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              The COSMIN study reached international consensus on taxonomy, terminology, and definitions of measurement properties for health-related patient-reported outcomes.

              Lack of consensus on taxonomy, terminology, and definitions has led to confusion about which measurement properties are relevant and which concepts they represent. The aim was to clarify and standardize terminology and definitions of measurement properties by reaching consensus among a group of experts and to develop a taxonomy of measurement properties relevant for evaluating health instruments. An international Delphi study with four written rounds was performed. Participating experts had a background in epidemiology, statistics, psychology, and clinical medicine. The panel was asked to rate their (dis)agreement about proposals on a five-point scale. Consensus was considered to be reached when at least 67% of the panel agreed. Of 91 invited experts, 57 agreed to participate and 43 actually participated. Consensus was reached on positions of measurement properties in the taxonomy (68-84%), terminology (74-88%, except for structural validity [56%]), and definitions of measurement properties (68-88%). The panel extensively discussed the positions of internal consistency and responsiveness in the taxonomy, the terms "reliability" and "structural validity," and the definitions of internal consistency and reliability. Consensus on taxonomy, terminology, and definitions of measurement properties was reached. Hopefully, this will lead to a more uniform use of terms and definitions in the literature on measurement properties. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Orthop Surg Res
                J Orthop Surg Res
                Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
                BioMed Central
                14 November 2013
                : 8
                : 40
                [1 ]Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Waterland Hospital, Waterlandlaan 250, Purmerend 1441 RN, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, OLVG Hospital, Amsterdam 1091, AC, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht 3584, CX, The Netherlands
                [4 ]Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam 1081, BT, The Netherlands
                Copyright © 2013 van Kampen et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article


                shoulder, prom, interpretation, mic, sdc, dash, simple shoulder test, oxford shoulder score


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