Using Optimal Test Assembly Methods for Shortening Patient-Reported Outcome Measures: Development and Validation of the Cochin Hand Function Scale-6: A Scleroderma Patient-Centered Intervention Network Cohort Study
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OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a short form of the Cochin Hand Function Scale (CHFS), which measures hand disability, for use in systemic sclerosis, using objective criteria and reproducible techniques. METHODS: Responses on the 18-item CHFS were obtained from English-speaking patients enrolled in the Scleroderma Patient-Centered Intervention Network Cohort. CHFS unidimensionality was verified using confirmatory factor analysis, and an item response theory model was fit to CHFS items. Optimal test assembly (OTA) methods identified a maximally precise short form for each possible form length between 1 and 17 items. The final short form selected was the form with the least number of items that maintained statistically equivalent convergent validity, compared to the full-length CHFS, with the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) disability index (DI) and the physical function domain of the 29-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS-29). RESULTS: There were 601 patients included. A 6-item short form of the CHFS (CHFS-6) was selected. The CHFS-6 had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.93. Correlations of the CHFS-6 summed score with HAQ DI (r = 0.79) and PROMIS-29 physical function (r = -0.54) were statistically equivalent to the CHFS (r = 0.81 and r = -0.56). The correlation with the full CHFS was high (r = 0.98). CONCLUSION: The OTA procedure generated a valid short form of the CHFS with minimal loss of information compared to the full-length form. The OTA method used was based on objective, prespecified criteria, but should be further studied for viability as a general procedure for shortening patient-reported outcome measures in health research.
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