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Ear Hear. 2017 Jan/Feb;38(1):103-116.

Overlap and Nonoverlap Between the ICF Core Sets for Hearing Loss and Otology and Audiology Intake Documentation.

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1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Section Ear & Hearing, VU University Medical Center and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2Department of Otolaryngology, Westfriesgasthuis, Hoorn, The Netherlands; and 3Audiology Centre Holland Noord, Alkmaar, The Netherlands.



The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for Hearing Loss (HL) were developed to serve as a standard for the assessment and reporting of the functioning and health of patients with HL. The aim of the present study was to compare the content of the intake documentation currently used in secondary and tertiary hearing care settings in the Netherlands with the content of the ICF Core Sets for HL. Research questions were (1) to what extent are the ICF Core Sets for HL represented in the Dutch Otology and Audiology intake documentation? (2) are there any extra ICF categories expressed in the intake documentation that are currently not part of the ICF Core Sets for HL, or constructs expressed that are not part of the ICF?


Multicenter patient record study including 176 adult patients from two secondary, and two tertiary hearing care settings. The intake documentation was selected from anonymized patient records. The content was linked to the appropriate ICF category from the whole ICF classification using established linking rules. The extent to which the ICF Core Sets for HL were represented in the intake documentation was determined by assessing the overlap between the ICF categories in the Core Sets and the list of unique ICF categories extracted from the intake documentation. Any extra constructs that were expressed in the intake documentation but are not part of the Core Sets were described as well, differentiating between ICF categories that are not part of the Core Sets and constructs that are not part of the ICF classification.


In total, otology and audiology intake documentation represented 24 of the 27 Brief ICF Core Set categories (i.e., 89%), and 60 of the 117 Comprehensive ICF Core Set categories (i.e., 51%). Various ICF Core Sets categories were not represented, including higher mental functions (Body Functions), civic life aspects (Activities and Participation), and support and attitudes of family (Environmental Factors). One extra ICF category emerged from the intake documentation that is currently not included in the Core Sets: sleep functions. Various Personal Factors emerged from the intake documentation that are currently not defined in the ICF classification.


The results showed substantial overlap between the ICF Core Sets for HL and the intake documentation of otology and audiology, but also revealed areas of nonoverlap. These findings contribute to the evaluation of the content validity of the Core Sets. The overlap can be viewed as supportive of the Core Sets' content validity. The nonoverlap in Core Sets categories indicates that current Dutch intake procedures may not cover all aspects relevant to patients with ear/hearing problems. The identification of extra constructs suggests that the Core Sets may not include all areas of functioning that are relevant to Dutch Otology and Audiology patients. Consideration of incorporating both aspects into future intake practice deserves attention. Operationalization of the ICF Core Sets categories, including the extra constructs identified in this study, into a practical and integral intake instrument seems an important next step.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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