Table 4Characteristics of a useful measure

When considering measuring the effect of a treatment or the extent of some aspect of a person’s situation, any potential measure should be considered against the following characteristics.

DomainQuestions
Feasibility
  • Can the measure be used in this situation?
  • Will the process be acceptable to the person with MS?
Utility
  • Is this measure going to be useful?
  • Will the time and effort required be worthwhile?
Validity
  • Is this measure going to measure whatever it is I am interested in?
  • Does this measure also include unrelated phenomena that reduce its validity?
Reliability
  • How much variation occurs from time to time when there is no ‘real’ change?
  • How much variation occurs between observers?
Sensitivity
  • Will this measure detect the change or difference that I am looking for?
  • Does the measure cover the whole range of possible change?
Communicability
  • Can I communicate this result?
  • Will other people involved understand the result?

From: 3, General principles of care

Cover of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis: National Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management in Primary and Secondary Care.
NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 8.
National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions (UK).
Copyright © 2004, Royal College of Physicians of London.

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