Potential problems in the use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and reporting of PROM data in sports science: Article six in a series of ten

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To use an inadequate patient reported outcome measure (PROM) or use a PROM in an inappropriate way potentially influences the quality of measurement. The objectives of this study were to define potential inadequate uses of PROMs in sports research studies and estimate how often they occur. A consensus group consisting of medical researchers, statisticians, and psychometricians identified and defined potentially irregular applications of PROMs. Occurrence of these in 349 consecutive articles in sports medicine in which PROMs were used as primary outcomes was reviewed. In all, 14 different potential problems were defined, and one or several occurred in 172 of the articles (49%). These were as follows: using a PROM that was developed for a different patient group (100 cases), using two or more PROMs with identical questions (94), aggregation of domain sum scores (82), combinations of subjective and objective measures (27), using a PROM to diagnose or evaluate the individual patient (7), using a PROM for a single limb (3), recall bias (3), exclusion of domains or items (3), construction of a PROM for a specific occasion (2), categorization of the scale (2), and mixing different versions of a PROM (1). Adaption of scale scores (e. g., to percentage) when results are reported (144) carries a risk of miscalculation and distorted impression of results. Data related to uncertainty about completing the PROM and the handling of missing data were not provided in the manuscripts. In conclusion, potential problems in the use and reporting of PROMs are common in sports research, and this can influence the validity of reported results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number6
Pages (from-to) 1249-1258
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • bias, patient reported outcome measures, sports medicine, sports traumatology, validity

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