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What it measures:

PROMIS Physical Function (PROMIS PF) measures the outcome of patients or clients with musculoskeletal disorders by assessing physical function through a grading scale of activities of daily living. PROMIS PF is used as an outcome in research on the effectiveness of interventions. Several variations of PROMIS PF have been developed to better suit target populations.(1)

The overall PROMIS system, of which PROMIS PF is one component, is a comprehensive set of outcome measures that evaluates physical, mental, and social health of adults and children. PROMIS was designed to improve and standardize measurement of several selected patient-reported outcome measures through both computer adaptive testing and traditional ‟paper and pencil" instruments.(2)

Taskforce Recommendations:

  • None reported


Clinical Insights

The studies summarized here show that PROMIS PF has been used to assess the level of physical function for patients with a wide variety of impairments that may limit the patient's physical capability. PROMIS PF is typically administered in a clinic setting. Because a minimal amount of time (less than 1 minute) is needed to complete the outcome measure, it can be easily administered to a patient before their initial evaluation. PROMIS PF test seems to be best suited for a rapid baseline measure of physical function, which can later be compared with a subsequent score gathered post intervention to assess the perceived improvement in physical function as a result of treatment.

A drawback of this outcome measure is that the patient must possess communication skills (ie, reading and comprehension) to accurately answer the questions as well as adequate visual acuity. The test may be challenging to those who are unfamiliar with technology. The PROMIS system has been translated into 33 languages, so there will not be a language barrier for most patients. Since the outcome measure is a self-report survey with no direct observation by a licensed clinician, the patient's responses may not accurately reflect their actual level of function for each test item. If using the short form (paper) version of the test, the administrator may need to decide which questions are most pertinent to include on the form for that patient population. Finally, since caregivers tend to overreport or underreport function on reported outcome measures, this should be taken into account by the administrator of the test.

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