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      Patient reported outcome measures in rare diseases: a narrative review

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          Rare diseases can lead to a significant reduction in quality of life for patients and their families. Ensuring the patients voice is central to clinical decision making is key to delivering, evaluating and understanding the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used to capture the patient’s views about their health status and facilitate our understanding of the impact of these diseases and their treatments on patient’s quality of life and symptoms.

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          This review explores some of the current issues around the utilisation of PROMs in rare diseases, including small patient populations and dearth of valid PROMs. Difficulties in validating new or current PROMs for use in clinical trials and research are discussed. The review highlights potential solutions for some of the issues outlined in the review and the implementation of PROMs in research and clinical practice are discussed.


          Patient input throughout the development of PROMs including qualitative research is essential to ensure that outcomes that matter to people living with rare disease are appropriately captured. Given the large number of rare diseases, small numbers of patients living with each condition and the cost of instrument development, creative and pragmatic solutions to PROM development and use may be necessary. Solutions include qualitative interviews, modern psychometrics and resources such as item banking and computer adaptive testing. Use of PROMs in rare disease research and clinical practice offers the potential to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.

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          Most cited references 59

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          Principles of Good Practice for the Translation and Cultural Adaptation Process for Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) Measures: report of the ISPOR Task Force for Translation and Cultural Adaptation.

          In 1999, ISPOR formed the Quality of Life Special Interest group (QoL-SIG)--Translation and Cultural Adaptation group (TCA group) to stimulate discussion on and create guidelines and standards for the translation and cultural adaptation of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures. After identifying a general lack of consistency in current methods and published guidelines, the TCA group saw a need to develop a holistic perspective that synthesized the full spectrum of published methods. This process resulted in the development of Translation and Cultural Adaptation of Patient Reported Outcomes Measures--Principles of Good Practice (PGP), a report on current methods, and an appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses. The TCA Group undertook a review of evidence from current practice, a review of the literature and existing guidelines, and consideration of the issues facing the pharmaceutical industry, regulators, and the broader outcomes research community. Each approach to translation and cultural adaptation was considered systematically in terms of rationale, components, key actors, and the potential benefits and risks associated with each approach and step. The results of this review were subjected to discussion and challenge within the TCA group, as well as consultation with the outcomes research community at large. Through this review, a consensus emerged on a broad approach, along with a detailed critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the differing methodologies. The results of this review are set out as "Translation and Cultural Adaptation of Patient Reported Outcomes Measures--Principles of Good Practice" and are reported in this document.
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            The PedsQL: measurement model for the pediatric quality of life inventory.

            Pediatric patients' self-report of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has emerged as an important patient-based health outcome. A practical, validated generic measure of HRQOL facilitates assessing risk, tracking health status, and measuring treatment outcomes in pediatric populations. The PedsQL is a brief, standardized, generic assessment instrument that systematically assesses patients' and parents' perceptions of HRQOL in pediatric patients with chronic health conditions using pediatric cancer as an exemplary model. The PedsQL is based on a modular approach to measuring HRQOL and consists of a 15-item core measure of global HRQOL and eight supplemental modules assessing specific symptom or treatment domains. The PedsQL was empirically derived from data collected from 291 pediatric cancer patients and their parents at various stages of treatment. Both reliability and validity were determined. Cronbach's alpha coefficients for the core measure (alpha = .83 for patient and alpha = .86 for parent) were acceptable for group comparisons. Alphas for the patient self-report modules generally ranged from .70 to .89. Discriminant or clinical validity, using the known-groups approach, was demonstrated for patients on- versus off-treatments. The 11 scales showed small-to-medium positive intercorrelations, supporting the multidimensional measurement model. Further construct validity was demonstrated via a multimethod-multitrait matrix using standardized psychosocial questionnaires. The results support the PedsQL as a reliable and valid measure of HRQOL. The PedsQL core and modular design makes it flexible enough to be used in a variety of research and clinical applications for pediatric chronic health conditions.
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              Rating the methodological quality in systematic reviews of studies on measurement properties: a scoring system for the COSMIN checklist

              Background The COSMIN checklist is a standardized tool for assessing the methodological quality of studies on measurement properties. It contains 9 boxes, each dealing with one measurement property, with 5–18 items per box about design aspects and statistical methods. Our aim was to develop a scoring system for the COSMIN checklist to calculate quality scores per measurement property when using the checklist in systematic reviews of measurement properties. Methods The scoring system was developed based on discussions among experts and testing of the scoring system on 46 articles from a systematic review. Four response options were defined for each COSMIN item (excellent, good, fair, and poor). A quality score per measurement property is obtained by taking the lowest rating of any item in a box (“worst score counts”). Results Specific criteria for excellent, good, fair, and poor quality for each COSMIN item are described. In defining the criteria, the “worst score counts” algorithm was taken into consideration. This means that only fatal flaws were defined as poor quality. The scores of the 46 articles show how the scoring system can be used to provide an overview of the methodological quality of studies included in a systematic review of measurement properties. Conclusions Based on experience in testing this scoring system on 46 articles, the COSMIN checklist with the proposed scoring system seems to be a useful tool for assessing the methodological quality of studies included in systematic reviews of measurement properties.

                Author and article information

                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
                BioMed Central (London )
                23 April 2018
                23 April 2018
                : 13
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7486, GRID grid.6572.6, Centre for Patient Reported Outcome Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, , University of Birmingham Edgbaston, ; Birmingham, B15 2TT UK
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7486, GRID grid.6572.6, Institute of Applied Health Research, , University of Birmingham, ; Birmingham, UK
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0376 6589, GRID grid.412563.7, University Hospital Birmingham, ; Birmingham, UK
                [4 ]Birmingham Childrens and Womens Hospital, Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
                [5 ]Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham, UK
                [6 ]Public Health England, Birmingham, UK
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: Metchley Park Medical Society
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                © The Author(s) 2018


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