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What it measures:

The Veterans RAND 12 Item Health Survey (VR-12) is a brief, self-report survey. VR-12 was developed from Veterans RAND 36 Item Health Survey (VR-36). VR-36 was developed from MOS RAND SF-36 Version 1.0. The Veterans versions of the survey were designed to be comparable to the MOS version, but with reduced floor and ceiling effects.(1) Note that there is also SF-36 and SF-12, which are proprietary versions of the public domain VR-36 and VR-12.(2)

VR-12 is used to measure health related quality of life. It can also be used to estimate disease burden and compare disease-specific benchmarks across various populations. The questionnaire is comprised of 12 items that relate to 8 physical and mental health domains. The domains included are general health perceptions, physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, and role limitations due to emotional problems, bodily pain, energy fatigue, social functioning, and mental health. The 12 items are summarized into a physical health summary measure, or physical component score (PCS), and a mental health summary, or mental component score (MCS). VR-12 is widely used, largely by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid studies (CMS) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). VR-12 is most commonly used with veterans, but it has also been used as an outcome measure with other populations.(3)

ICF Domain(s):

  • Activity and Participation


Target Population:

This summary contains information on the use of VR-12 variation of the health survey in a variety of populations.

Taskforce Recommendations:

No taskforce recommendations are reported. However, VR-12 is often used by VHA for national VA surveys and by CMS for Medicare enrollees.(3)

Clinical Insights

VR-12 has been used as an outcome measure for a wide variety of conditions. This self-reported measure is in the public domain, takes little time to administer, and is easy to understand for the patient and clinician. An important limitation in its use is the complexity of scoring, which is difficult for clinicians to do unless they have access to the test in a format that automatically calculates scores. It is anticipated that the instrument will be available digitally in the future.(18) This will allow automatic scoring and results will be available to the clinician immediately. With a digital survey, the feedback can be incorporated into the patient's EMR.

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