Reporting Standards for a Bland-Altman Agreement Analysis: A Review of Methodological Reviews

Diagnostics (Basel). 2020 May 22;10(5):334. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics10050334.


The Bland-Altman Limits of Agreement is a popular and widespread means of analyzing the agreement of two methods, instruments, or raters in quantitative outcomes. An agreement analysis could be reported as a stand-alone research article but it is more often conducted as a minor quality assurance project in a subgroup of patients, as a part of a larger diagnostic accuracy study, clinical trial, or epidemiological survey. Consequently, such an analysis is often limited to brief descriptions in the main report. Therefore, in several medical fields, it has been recommended to report specific items related to the Bland-Altman analysis. The present study aimed to identify the most comprehensive and appropriate list of items for such an analysis. Seven proposals were identified from a MEDLINE/PubMed search, three of which were derived by reviewing anesthesia journals. Broad consensus was seen for the a priori establishment of acceptability benchmarks, estimation of repeatability of measurements, description of the data structure, visual assessment of the normality and homogeneity assumption, and plotting and numerically reporting both bias and the Bland-Altman Limits of Agreement, including respective 95% confidence intervals. Abu-Arafeh et al. provided the most comprehensive and prudent list, identifying 13 key items for reporting (Br. J. Anaesth. 2016, 117, 569-575). An exemplification with interrater data from a local study accentuated the straightforwardness of transparent reporting of the Bland-Altman analysis. The 13 key items should be applied by researchers, journal editors, and reviewers in the future, to increase the quality of reporting Bland-Altman agreement analyses.

Keywords: Bland–Altman plot; Limits of Agreement; Tukey mean-difference plot; agreement; confidence interval; interrater; method comparison; repeatability; reporting; reproducibility.

Publication types

  • Review