Background and objective: Patient-specific quality of life indices show great potential, but certain conceptual and methodological concerns have yet to be fully addressed. The present study reviewed nine patient-specific instruments used in musculoskeletal disorders: the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), Juvenile Arthritis Quality of life Questionnaire (JAQQ), McMaster-Toronto Arthritis questionnaire (MACTAR), Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP), Patient-Specific Index (PASI) for total hip arthroplasty, Problem Elicitation Technique (PET), Patient Generated Index (PGI) of quality of life, Patient-Specific Functional Scale (PSFS), and Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL).
Study design and setting: Each tool was evaluated for purpose, content validity, face validity, feasibility, psychometric properties, and responsiveness.
Results: This critical appraisal revealed important differences in terms of the concept underlying these indices, the domains covered, the item-generation techniques and the scoring (response scale, methods) in each scale. The nine indices would generate different responses and likely scores for the same patient, despite the fact that they all include patient-generated items.
Conclusion: Although the value of these indices in treatment planning and monitoring at an individual level is strong, more studies are needed to improve our understanding of how to interpret the numeric scores of patient-specific indices at both an individual and a group level.