Selecting Outcome Measures in Sports Medicine: A Guide for Practitioners Using the Example of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Sports and health practitioners responsible for the management of injured athletes are routinely required to make decisions regarding the timing of exercise progression, commencement of functional activities, and return to competitive play. Such decision-making might be enhanced by adoption of an outcomes-based approach to treatment progression, where patients must achieve specific outcomes prior to proceeding to more advanced levels of activity. However, outcome measures are infrequently incorporated into routine practice. A possible reason for this lack of use is that practitioners may feel insufficiently familiar with how to evaluate a measure's suitability. Using illustrative examples from the field of ACL rehabilitation, this critical review provides a comprehensive, yet user-friendly, guide to selecting outcome measures for use with active populations. A series of questions are presented for consideration when selecting a measure: Is the measure appropriate for the intended use? (Appropriateness); Is the measure acceptable to patients? (Acceptability); Is it feasible to use the measure? (Feasibility); Does the measure provide meaningful results? (Interpretability); Does the measure provide reproducible values? (Reliability); Does the measure assess what it is supposed to assess? (Validity); Can the measure detect change? (Responsiveness); Do substantial proportions of patients achieve the worst or best scores? (Floor and Ceiling Effects); Is the measure structured and scored correctly? (Dimensionality and Internal Consistency); Has the measure been tested with the types of patients with whom it will be used? (Sample Characteristics). Evaluation of the measure using these questions will assist practitioners in making their judgements.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Early online date17 Feb 2009
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2009