Objective: To develop components of a multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire (MDHAQ) through the addition of new items in the "patient-friendly" HAQ format, including advanced activities of daily living (ADL), designed to overcome "floor effects" of the HAQ and modified HAQ (MHAQ) in which patients may report normal scores although they experience meaningful functional limitations, and psychological items, designed to screen efficiently for psychological distress in routine care.
Methods: The new MDHAQ items, as well as scales for pain, fatigue, helplessness, and global health status on a 2-page questionnaire, were completed by 688 consecutive patients with various rheumatic diseases, including 162 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 114 with fibromyalgia, 63 with osteoarthritis, 34 with systemic lupus erythematosus, 20 with vasculitis, 18 with psoriatic arthritis, 16 with scleroderma, and 261 with various other rheumatic diseases, over 2 years at a weekly academic rheumatology clinic.
Results: The new MDHAQ items have good test-retest reliability and face validity. MHAQ scores were highest in patients with RA, and scores for other scales were highest in patients with fibromyalgia. On the advanced ADL, 58% of patients reported difficulty with errands, 68% with climbing stairs, 79% with walking two miles, 87% with participating in sports and games, and 94% with running or jogging two miles. On the psychological items, 75% of patients reported difficulty with sleep, 63% with stress, 61% with anxiety, and 57% with depression. Normal MHAQ scores were reported by 23% of patients and normal HAQ scores by 16% of patients who completed these questionnaires, while fewer than 5% had normal scores on the MDHAQ.
Conclusion: The MDHAQ items overcome in large part the "floor effects" seen on the HAQ and MHAQ, and are useful to screen for problems with sleep, stress, anxiety, and depression in the "patient-friendly" HAQ format. These data support the value of completion of a simple 2-page patient questionnaire by each patient at each visit to a rheumatologist.