Content » Vol 46, Issue 4

Original report

Comparison of generic patient-reported outcome measures used with upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders: Linking process using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)

Nancy J. Forget, Johanne Higgins
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, H3G1Y5 Montreal, Canada. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1784


Objective: To report the theoretical foundation of generic patient-reported outcomes for measuring functioning related to upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and perform content coverage analysis and content comparison using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).
Methods: A literature search was performed to identify commonly used patient-reported outcomes. A comparison of their theoretical foundations and a linking exercise between the measures’ meaningful concepts and the ICF and Brief ICF Core Set for Hand Conditions was accomplished based on established rules.
Results: Fifteen measures were selected. Multiple theoretical foundations were identified, and only 7 measures were developed based on a known conceptual model. Six measures were chosen for the linking process with 232 meaningful concepts retrieved and linked to 54 ICF categories. No concept was linked to the Body Structures component and two measures stood out for their Activity and Participation coverage. No measure covered all Brief ICF Core Set for Hand Conditions recommended categories.
Conclusion: Some heterogeneity was observed with regards to the theoretical foundations on which the identified measures are based. The results of the linking process should help reduce these inconsistencies. They enable easy identification of content coverage and content comparison between measures using a common framework and can be used as a reference when selecting the most appropriate patient-reported outcome measure.

Lay Abstract


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