Applying the Results of Self-Report Measures to Individual Patients: An Example Using the Roland-Morris Questionnaire
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Information concerning a patient's functional status is often obtained by asking the patient about activities that cannot be assessed directly in the clinical setting. This information is usually acquired through a verbal exchange between the clinician and patient. The measurement properties of the verbal exchange are unknown. An alternate method of obtaining this information is when patients self-report their functional status. The measurement properties of self-report questionnaires are well known; however, these measures are used infrequently for the evaluation of functional status, progress, and outcome in the clinic. Two reasons are possible for the infrequent use of self-report questionnaires: (1) values obtained from self-report measures have not been used to guide the care of the patient, and (2) a perception exists that these measures take a great deal of time to administer and score. The purpose of this clinical commentary was to describe the application, scoring, and use of a functional status measure (the Roland-Morris Questionnaire) for persons with low back pain and to illustrate how this questionnaire can be efficiently incorporated into clinical practice to aid decision making concerning individual patients. Three patient scenarios are used to illustrate the issues raised in this paper.
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