Objective: To describe meaningful interpretations of functional status (FS) outcomes measures estimated using a body-part specific computerized adaptive test (CAT).
Design: A prospective observational cohort study.
Setting: Outpatient physical therapy clinics (291 clinics) in 30 U.S. states.
Participants: Sample of 21,896 patients with knee impairments receiving outpatient physical therapy.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measure: FS estimated using CAT administration.
Results: We investigated 4 approaches to clinically meaningful interpretations of outcomes data: (1) 95% confidence interval for each score estimate, (2) percentile rank of FS scores, (3) responsiveness, and (4) functional staging. Overall, precision of a single score was estimated by FS score +/-5. Based on score distribution, percentile ranks at 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles corresponded to intake FS scores of 33, 42, and 51 and discharge FS scores of 51, 61, and 74, respectively. Results showed that 9 or higher FS change units represented statistically and clinically important improvement. Patients were classified into 6 hierarchical levels of FS using functional staging.
Conclusions: Results suggest how CAT-generated outcomes measures can be interpreted to assist clinicians and patients during rehabilitation.