Objective: The primary objective of this study was to determine initial psychometric properties and feasibility of a new Computer Face Scale for measuring pediatric pain. Drawbacks to current measurement tools include a lack of continuous variables, suboptimal mode of implementation, and difficulty interpreting results. A computer method of pediatric pain measurement is presented that addresses these problems. Basic psychometric properties, feasibility, and children's preference when compared with Wong-Baker Faces Scale were determined.
Methods: Fifty-four hospitalized, pediatric inpatients were tested using both the Computer Face Scale and the Wong-Baker Faces Scale. An additional 30 children (not hospitalized) were tested using only the Computer Face Scale.
Results: Both hospitalized and nonhospitalized children between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age are able to use the Computer Face Scale to express relative amounts of pain/hurt and happiness. The Computer Face Scale shows acceptable psychometric properties and is preferred by most children.
Conclusions: The Computer Face Scale offers advantages over traditional pediatric pain measurement tools. The opportunity for real time review, electronic and time-stamped recording, electronic display, and temporal comparisons of reports affords the potential for improvement in pediatric pain assessment and treatment.