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Research Projects

Research at Health Assessment Lab has historically focused on the development and use of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures, particularly the SF-36® Health Survey and other tools developed by Dr. Ware and his colleagues.  Brief descriptions of some of the research projects conducted at HAL are provided below.





IQOLA Project

HAL researchers have collaborated in the development and validation of translations of the SF-36®Health Survey and other patient-reported outcome measures through the International Quality of Life Assessment (IQOLA) Project, which was established in 1992.  As of December 2006, more than 200 translations of the SF-36®, SF-12® and SF-8™  Health Surveys had been developed for use in more than 70 countries.  IQOLA investigators have published extensively about SF-36® and  SF-12® Health Survey translations, most notably in a special November 1998 issue of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, which included 32 publications about IQOLA methods and results.  Fore more information about the IQOLA project, click here.


SF-36® Health Survey Translations — 2006


Until March 2008 Hal staff participated in the PROMIS Project. HAL staff are taking part in the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), which is a component of the NIH Roadmap.  The purpose of the NIH Roadmap is to identify major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that the NIH institutes can address as a whole to make a significant impact on the progress of medical research.  PROMIS is a 5-year project that is being conducted as a cooperative agreement between the NIH and extramural investigators at six primary research sites (PRS) and a statistical coordinating center (SCC). 


The broad objectives of PROMIS are to:

  • Develop and test large banks of items measuring patient-reported outcomes

  • Create CATs (Computer Adaptive Tests) for efficient assessment of the PROs across a range of chronic diseases.

  • Create a publicly available, adaptable and sustainable system allowing clinical researchers access to a common item repository and CAT.


PROMIS initially is developing item banks and CATs for emotional distress, fatigue, pain, physical function, and social role participation.  HAL staff are focusing on development and testing of the physical function item bank, in collaboration with James F. Fries, MD and other researchers at theStanford University. To date, the research team has systematically reviewed over 200 existing physical function instruments, qualitatively evaluated nearly 2,000 items, conducted extensive rewriting of existing items, and submitted a final bank of 156 items for the first wave of network data collection that took place in 2006.  Data analysis currently is underway following a statistical analysis plan based on IRT models.


HAL staff presented at “Building Tomorrow’s Patient-Reported Outcome Measures: The Inaugural PROMIS Conference”, held in September 2006.  


For more information about the conference, see  

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