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Individuals with knee impairments identify items in need of clarification in the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) pain interference and physical function item banks - a qualitative study

Andrew D Lynch, Nathan E Dodds, Lan Yu, Paul A Pilkonis, James J Irrgang
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2016 May 11, 14: 77
27169858

BACKGROUND: The content and wording of the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Physical Function and Pain Interference item banks have not been qualitatively assessed by individuals with knee joint impairments. The purpose of this investigation was to identify items in the PROMIS Physical Function and Pain Interference Item Banks that are irrelevant, unclear, or otherwise difficult to respond to for individuals with impairment of the knee and to suggest modifications based on cognitive interviews.

METHODS: Twenty-nine individuals with knee joint impairments qualitatively assessed items in the Pain Interference and Physical Function Item Banks in a mixed-methods cognitive interview. Field notes were analyzed to identify themes and frequency counts were calculated to identify items not relevant to individuals with knee joint impairments.

RESULTS: Issues with clarity were identified in 23 items in the Physical Function Item Bank, resulting in the creation of 43 new or modified items, typically changing words within the item to be clearer. Interpretation issues included whether or not the knee joint played a significant role in overall health and age/gender differences in items. One quarter of the original items (31 of 124) in the Physical Function Item Bank were identified as irrelevant to the knee joint. All 41 items in the Pain Interference Item Bank were identified as clear, although individuals without significant pain substituted other symptoms which interfered with their life.

CONCLUSIONS: The Physical Function Item Bank would benefit from additional items that are relevant to individuals with knee joint impairments and, by extension, to other lower extremity impairments. Several issues in clarity were identified that are likely to be present in other patient cohorts as well.

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