Methods for shortening patient-reported outcome measures

Daphna Harel, Murray Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient-reported outcome measures are widely used to assess patient experiences, well-being, and treatment response in clinical trials and cohort-based observational studies. However, patients may be asked to respond to many different measures in order to provide researchers and clinicians with a wide array of information regarding their experiences. Collecting such long and cumbersome patient-reported outcome measures may burden patients, increase research costs, and potentially reduce the quality of the data collected. Nonetheless, little research has been conducted on replicable, and reproducible methods to shorten these instruments that result in shortened forms of minimal length. This manuscript proposes the use of mixed integer programming through Optimal Test Assembly as a method to shorten patient-reported outcome measures. This method is compared to the existing standard in the field, which is selecting items based on having high discrimination parameters from an item response theory model. The method is then illustrated in an application to a fatigue scale for patients with Systemic Sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2992-3011
Number of pages20
JournalStatistical Methods in Medical Research
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Item response theory
  • generalized partial credit model
  • optimal test assembly
  • patient-reported outcome measure
  • shortened form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Health Information Management


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