Purpose To examine the performance of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Upper Extremity (UE) Function Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) relative to the PROMIS Physical Function (PF) CAT in patients seeking specialty care for upper extremity conditions. Methods This observational trial analyzed prospectively collected PROMIS UE and PF CAT scores from 5,202 adult patients with 10,344 outpatient clinic visits presenting to a tertiary orthopedic clinic. Pearson correlation coefficient was utilized to evaluate the association between initial PF and UE scores as well as the association between changes in PF and UE scores between visits. Differences in scores between populations presenting with hand conditions versus shoulder and elbow conditions were evaluated via Student t test, as were differences in scores between new and return patient visits. Results The PROMIS UE CAT scores were strongly correlated with PROMIS PF CAT scores. However, patients averaged 8 points lower scoring on UE CAT testing than on PF CAT scores. The UE CAT demonstrated a ceiling effect at a score of 56 that affected 7% of patients with a secondary ceiling at 50. Changes in PF and UE scores between visits were moderately correlated with a mean difference of less than 1 point. Patients presenting for hand conditions achieved better PF and UE scores than patients presenting for shoulder and elbow conditions. Conclusions The PROMIS UE module appears responsive to changes over time. However, the current UE CAT has a ceiling score of 56, which does not allow for improvement of scores 0.6 SD higher than the presumptive normative population mean of 50. Although a specific assessment of upper extremity function is desirable, continued refinement of the PROMIS UE CAT is required to better assess patients with higher levels of function. Type of study/level of evidence Diagnostic II.
- physical function
- upper extremity