Programs and initiatives have been created to empower, educate, and provide information to consumers; these are sometimes generically known as self-management interventions. Evaluating and comparing such programs has been a challenge, as many skills that consumers believe are important to manage and participate in their individual healthcare are not currently captured by existing tools. The objective of the Effective Musculoskeletal Consumer Project is to develop a scale to measure an effective consumer. A review of the literature, interviews, workshops, and preliminary surveys at OMERACT 7 (May 2005) were conducted in the first phases of the Project. A questionnaire consisting of 64 items was developed to measure the skills and attributes of an effective musculoskeletal (MSK) consumer. Content experts on our team reduced this scale to 48 items, which was pilot-tested with consumers from Canada and Australia. Dimensionality assessment showed that the scale was unidimensional. Classical and item response theory analyses showed that the 48-item scale had quite high reliability, but that 2 items were very poor. Based on the item analysis, 35 items were retained. The revised scale was presented at OMERACT 8, where a panel reviewed the scale and provided input. This input and another expert review by our team was used to further refine the Effective Consumer Scale to 17 items. Plans are now under way to validate this 17-item scale in self-management interventions.