Concept analysis of the patient reported outcomes measurement information system (PROMIS(®)) and the international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF)

Qual Life Res. 2014 Aug;23(6):1677-86. doi: 10.1007/s11136-014-0622-y. Epub 2014 Feb 6.


Purpose: The Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS (®) ) is a US National Institutes of Health initiative that has produced self-report outcome measures, using a framework of physical, mental, and social health defined by the World Health Organization in 1948 (WHO, in Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 1948). The World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is a comprehensive classification system of health and health-related domains that was put forward in 2001. The purpose of this report is to compare and contrast PROMIS and ICF conceptual frameworks to support mapping of PROMIS instruments to the ICF classification system .

Methods: We assessed the objectives and the classification schema of the PROMIS and ICF frameworks, followed by content analysis to determine whether PROMIS domain and sub-domain level health concepts can be linked to the ICF classification.

Results: Both PROMIS and ICF are relevant to all individuals, irrespective of the presence of health conditions, person characteristics, or environmental factors in which persons live. PROMIS measures are intended to assess a person's experiences of his or her health, functional status, and well-being in multiple domains across physical, mental, and social dimensions. The ICF comprehensively describes human functioning from a biological, individual, and social perspective. The ICF supports classification of health and health-related states such as functioning, but is not a specific measure or assessment of health, per se. PROMIS domains and sub-domain concepts can be meaningfully mapped to ICF concepts.

Conclusions: Theoretical and conceptual similarities support the use of PROMIS instruments to operationalize self-reported measurement for many body function, activity and participation ICF concepts, as well as several environmental factor concepts. Differences observed in PROMIS and ICF conceptual frameworks provide a stimulus for future research and development.

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation
  • Disabled Persons / classification
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Information Systems
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Health
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Report
  • Social Support
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United States
  • World Health Organization