The authors assessed 3 health questionnaires independent of their originators for reliability, validity, and acceptability, using an ease of use questionnaire. The instruments were administered in random order to 100 patients with varying hand and wrist conditions. All three outcome questionnaires were found reliable and valid for finger and wrist disorders, but less for nerve disorders. The Patient Evaluation Measure was the easiest to use, taking the least time to complete.
A heightened awareness of study design and use of validated outcome measurement tools have greatly improved the quality of clinical research. The authors of this study advocated use of a short questionnaire, owing to the possibility of patient “tick box fatigue.” They also emphasized the potential error in applying a health scale indiscriminately: the tool might not be a valid assessment for the disorder under study (e.g., nerve disorder).