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Individual-patient monitoring in clinical practice: are available health status surveys adequate?

Quality of Life Research

Health Status Indicators, Sensitivity and Specificity, Reproducibility of Results, Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Humans, Health Surveys

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      Abstract

      Interest has increased in recent years in incorporating health status measures into clinical practice for use at the individual-patient level. We propose six measurement standards for individual-patient applications: (1) practical features, (2) breadth of health measured, (3) depth of health measured, (4) precision for cross-sectional assessment, (5) precision for longitudinal monitoring and (6) validity. We evaluate five health status surveys (Functional Status Questionnaire, Dartmouth COOP Poster Charts, Nottingham Health Profile, Duke Health Profile, and SF-36 Health Survey) that have been proposed for use in clinical practice. We conducted an analytical literature review to evaluate the six measurement standards for individual-patient applications across the five surveys. The most problematic feature of the five surveys was their lack of precision for individual-patient applications. Across all scales, reliability standards for individual assessment and monitoring were not satisfied, and the 95% CIs were very wide. There was little evidence of the validity of the five surveys for screening, diagnosing, or monitoring individual patients. The health status surveys examined in this paper may not be suitable for monitoring the health and treatment status of individual patients. Clinical usefulness of existing measures might be demonstrated as clinical experience is broadened. At this time, however, it seems that new instruments, or adaptation of existing measures and scaling methods, are needed for individual-patient assessment and monitoring.

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      Most cited references 72

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