The effective evaluation and management of orthopaedic conditions including shoulder disorders relies upon understanding the level of disability created by the disease process. Validated outcome measures are critical to the evaluation process. Traditionally, outcome measures have been physician derived objective evaluations including range of motion and radiologic evaluations. However, these measures can marginalize a patient's perception of their disability or outcome. As a result of these limitations, patient self-reported outcomes measures have become popular over the last quarter century and are currently primary tools to evaluate outcomes of treatment. Patient reported outcomes measures can be general health related quality of life measures, health utility measures, region specific health related quality of life measures or condition specific measures. Several patients self-reported outcomes measures have been developed and validated for evaluating patients with shoulder disorders. Computer adaptive testing will likely play an important role in the arsenal of measures used to evaluate shoulder patients in the future. The purpose of this article is to review the general health related quality-of-life measures as well as the joint-specific and condition specific measures utilized in evaluating patients with shoulder conditions. Advances in computer adaptive testing as it relates to assessing dysfunction in shoulder conditions will also be reviewed.
Keywords: Functional outcome; Health utility measure; Patient reported outcome; Quality-of-life; Shoulder.