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FAQs

HealthMeasures are NIH-funded measurement development projects that offer improved tools for quantifying symptoms, well-being, life satisfaction, physical, mental, and social health; as well as sensory, motor, and cognitive function. HealthMeasures includes the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®), the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (Neuro-QoL™) measurement system, the Adult Sickle Cell Quality of Life Measurement Information System (ASCQ-Me®), and NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function® (NIH Toolbox®).

The HealthMeasures Measurement Systems (PROMIS, Neuro-QoL, ASCQ-Me, and NIH Toolbox) were created and validated by hundreds of scientists. For more information, please see About Us.

The Search & View Measures feature includes a respondent-ready version of all self- and proxy-report measures as a PDF. Demonstration videos are available for the performance tests for cognitive, motor, and sensory function from NIH Toolbox.

HealthMeasures are reliable, person-centered, concise, cost-effective, flexible, and applicable in multiple settings and patient populations. They are scored on a common metric creating a common language to enhance communication between clinicians and patients, as well as improve patient care and research quality. Results are reproducible and can be available in real time.

Sometimes a HealthMeasures user wants to make a modification to an item such as changing the time frame, altering the response options, or adding an instruction to consider only one health issue when responding. In general, our philosophy is that measures can be improved and we welcome others to make and test improvements. We believe instrument problems and improvements are based on data, not expert opinion alone. Modifications may alter how an item performs and invalidate scoring. Our guidance for modifying PROMIS measures varies on the intended use. Learn more>>

Read more in the PROMIS Forum>>

Please see the Glossary for more information about specific terms related to HealthMeasures

  • Item Bank refers to a collection of carefully selected items that provide an operational definition of a trait or construct. A good item bank covers the entire continuum of the latent trait being measured, capturing different severity levels along the continuum. An item bank can be administered as a computer adaptive test (CAT), or as a fixed length short form with items the user or measurement developer selects.
  • Item pool refers to a collection of items that are not calibrated using item response theory.
  • Scale refers to a set of items that are administered in their entirety. They are not a subset of items from an item bank.
  • Profile refers to a fixed set of short forms or CATs that are administered together (e.g., PROMIS-29).  Profiles generate multiple scores (e.g., physical function, pain interference, anxiety).
  • Battery is a set of measures that are administered together. Each of the four NIH Toolbox domains (Cognition, Emotion, Motor, Sensation) has its own battery. Batteries generate multiple scores.

This website includes educational information on selecting, obtaining, administering, scoring, and interpreting HealthMeasures. If you are looking for a measure for a particular purpose, read the Applications of HealthMeasures section. If you know what measure you want, go to Search & View Measures to find it along with information on scoring and administration options.