Patient-focused measures of functional health status and health-related quality of life in pediatric orthopedics: a case study in measurement selection.
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The objectives of this report are to review the assessment of patient-focused outcomes in pediatric orthopedic surgery, to describe a framework for identifying appropriate sets of measures, and to illustrate an application of the framework to a challenging orthopedic problem.A detailed framework of study design and measurement factors is described. The factors are important for selecting appropriate instruments to measure health status and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in a particular context. A study to evaluate treatment alternatives for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 and congenital tibial dysplasia (NF1-CTD) provides a rich illustration of the application of the framework. The application involves great variability in the instrument selection factors. Furthermore, these patients and their supportive caregivers face numerous complex health challenges with long-term implications for HRQL. Detailed summaries of important generic preference-based multi-attribute measurement systems, pediatric health profile instruments, and pediatric orthopedic-specific instruments are presented. Age-appropriate generic and specific measures are identified for study of NF1-CTD patients. Selected measures include the Activities Scale for Children, Gillette Functional Assessment Questionnaire Walking Scale, Health Utilities Index, and Pediatric Inventory of Quality of Life. Reliable and valid measures for application to pediatric orthopedics are available. There are important differences among measures. The selected measures complement each other. The framework in this report provides a guide for selecting appropriate measures. Application of appropriate sets of measures will enhance the ability to describe the morbidity of pediatric orthopedic patients and to assess the effectiveness of alternative clinical interventions. The framework for measurement of health status and HRQL from a patient perspective has relevance to many other areas of orthopedic practice.
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