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Instrument Selection


These pages are designed to guide the selection and application of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Several types of instrument are described, but the most useful distinction is between those that are generic and hence widely applicable, and those that are specific to particular health problems or populations. These instruments can be used in a number of applications that are described, including clinical trials, economic evaluation and routine patient care. Different forms of instrument administration are presented, the main forms being self- and interviewer-completion. Instrument selection should be based on a number of criteria including certain psychometric properties such as reliability and validity, but also more general issues such as the appropriateness of an instrument for a specific application.

Instrument selection should consider expert recommendations that are based on comprehensive reviews and professional consensus. The PROM Bibliography can be searched for reviews and recommendations that relate to specific health problems. However, they are not available for all health problems and often need updating. In the absence of this information, the PROM Bibliography can be searched for relevant instruments. There are a number of useful web sites within the links page. The following books and compendia describe a large number of instruments but are far from exhaustive:

  • Bowling A. Measuring disease. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1995.
  • Bowling A. Measuring health: a review of quality of life measurement scales. 2nd edn. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1997.
  • McDowell I, Newell C. Measuring health: a guide to rating scales and questionnaires. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Salek S. Compendium of quality of life instruments. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1999.
  • Wilkin D, Hallam L, Doggett M. Measures of need and outcome for primary care. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

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