Review of Health Status Measures

Many of the most common measures of health status confuse functional status and health. Therefore, these measures inaccurately represent the health status of people living with disabilities.


This study used a panel of health status measurement and disability experts to develop consensus on desired characteristics of a health assessment tool for people with disabilities. Panel members then evaluated existing measures on these desired characteristics. We searched the Patient Reported Outcomes and Quality of Life Instrument Database (ProQolid) for tools that were applicable to the general adult population. 


We found 85 measures.  The expert panel reviewed all items in these 85 measures. Only 21 of the measures had items that panel members thought were essential for measuring health.  Many of these items were judged by the panel to include “functional bias.”  In other words, people with functional limitations or disabilities might score lower on these items even if they enjoyed good health. The items that the panel decided were not biased formed an item pool that we used to develop a new health measurement tool.

Further Reading About New Measure

Review of Existing Measures - Brief from our 2008 State of the Science Conference

Development of a New Health Measurement Tool

Journal Articles

Hall T, Krahn GL, Horner-Johnson W, Lamb G, the RRTC Expert Panel on Health Measurement. Examining functional content in widely used health-related quality of life scales.  Rehabilitation Psychology 2011;56(2):94-99.