PRISMA-COSMIN: Maximizing usefulness of research reports on health outcome measurement tools.

Healthcare providers rely on information collected from research studies to decide which treatments work best for patients. Central in these studies are health outcome measurement tools for any given health condition, such as lab tests, questionnaires that the patient completes, or rating scales that a physician completes. Outcome measurements are only as good as the tools used to make them and deciding which tool to use is an important research decision. Not all tools are created equally; some are better than others, either overall or when used in specific settings or populations. A comprehensive research process that helps researchers and doctors decide which tool to choose is available. It provides set criteria to evaluate possible tools, and guidance on how to decide which tool is best for the purpose at hand. However, there is no consensus on what core information describing this process is needed in published reports. Currently, these reports often do not provide enough detail on how well this process was conducted, impairing the choice of the right tool.

To address this issue, we assembled an international group of experts to develop and evaluate a checklist for researchers to use for publishing the results of their studies on tools, which will ensure all the necessary information is included. Our team includes measurement tool developers, tool users such as doctors and researchers, checklist developers, and users of knowledge generated by tools including patients. The new checklist, developed using cutting edge research methods, will be tested across mental health, rheumatology, neurology, surgery, and child health. It will be freely available worldwide to use, and have a global impact by teaching researchers how to describe their studies on tools appropriately, so that measurements made are useful, correct, and meaningful. Our work will improve the quality of research studies that inform health decisions, ultimately improving health outcomes.

Read our publication Needed: guidance for reporting knowledge synthesis studies on measurement properties of outcome measurement instruments in health research.”