Professor of Psychology Scott Morris, in collaboration with colleagues at Northwestern University, has been awarded a prestigious four-year grant totaling $950,000 from the National Library of Medicine for the project “Multidimensional Computer Adaptive Testing for Patient Reported Outcomes.”
There is increasing awareness of the importance of the patient’s perspective in medical research and practice, reflecting an increased focus on improving personally relevant outcomes (e.g., quality of life). A challenge is how to get psychometrically sound measures of patient reported outcomes (PROs) without unnecessarily burdening patients with lengthy questionnaires. Computer adaptive testing (CAT) can substantially reduce the number of items needed to measure a PRO, by optimally matching questionnaire items to an individual. By only administering those items most relevant to each individual, a CAT can obtain high measurement precisions with substantially fewer questions than a traditional questionnaire, thereby reducing patient burden. A multidimensional CAT administers items for several related traits, and utilizes the relationships among the traits to further reduce the number of items required.
The project will develop multidimensional CATs for several domains of health outcomes, including emotional distress, physical functioning, and social functioning. The project will also develop a software platform for administering CATs, facilitating their use by researchers and integration into electronic health record systems in healthcare settings.