Intro to Person-Centered Assessment

Clinicians, researchers, and other professionals are increasingly using person-centered assessments in their work to increase the power of the patient voice in clinical care and to strengthen research quality.

Types of Assessment

HealthMeasures includes two frequently used types of assessment:

  • Self-report: A person’s direct report on his or her feelings, function, well-being, symptoms, or life satisfaction without interpretation of that response by a clinician or other person. Sometimes this is provided by a proxy respondent (e.g., parent reporting for a child).
  • Performance Tests of Function: The person being tested is asked to complete a task or activity by a trained examiner. HealthMeasures includes performance tests for cognitive, motor, and sensory function.


Some HealthMeasures are tailored to the concerns of individuals living with a specific condition or disease. The ASCQ-MeSM measures, for example, are used to assess individuals who have sickle cell disease. Other measurement systems, such as PROMIS®, can be used across all health conditions throughout the general population. The Overview page shows what populations are appropriate for each measurement system.

Some measures are available for adults and some are available for children. View the Overview page to see which systems provide measures for specific ages.

What are you Measuring?

Finding the right measure is easier when you know how they are organized. Available measures are generally divided into physical, mental, and social health. You can view the concepts or domains assessed by each measurement system on the Intro to PROMIS/Neuro-QoL/ASCQ-Me/NIH Toolbox pages. You can view the full list of measures on the List of Measures pages.

Types of Measures

Within HealthMeasures you can choose among several types of measures, depending on the time and equipment you have available for the assessment, the level of precision you desire, or the design of your study. Measure types include:

  • Computer Adaptive Tests (CATs): An item consists of a question or statement and its response choices. An item bank is a collection of carefully selected items that help define a trait or construct. A computer adaptive test (CAT) is a flexible, computer–driven measure that can present a respondent with any items in an item bank. Items are dynamically selected for administration based upon the respondent’s previous answers. CATs select only those items that sharpen the estimate of a respondent’s score on the domain being measured.
  • Fixed Length Short Forms: A fixed set of items that generates one score for a domain.
  • Batteries and Profiles: Fixed collection of measures from multiple domains that are administered together.
  • Performance Tests of Function: Examiner-administered tests designed to measure cognitive, sensory, or motor function.