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Measuring Quality of Life in Health

Rod O'Connor
ISBN 0443073198 · Paperback · 264 Pages ·
Elsevier/ Churchill Livingstone  2004
 
To order the book, click on any of the following links  Amazon.co.uk , Bookshop of The University of New South WalesElsevier Science

Preface
This book is concerned with the assessment of health outcomes from the patient's perspective. Patients and their families may know the effects of ill-health and treatment better than anyone, but traditionally little formal attention has been given to outcomes as patients perceived them. Health care administrators and bureaucrats are concerned with process - the great machine of health care proceeds inexorably on. Clinicians have been concerned primarily with clinical outcomes.

Over the last few decades there has been mounting change. The need to measure people’s own views regarding the experience of illness and treatment has been recognised, resulting in a host of outcome measures concerned to assess patients attitudes, experiences, perceptions, ability to carry out the activities of daily living, and quality of life in general.

This book is concerned with patient-centred measures. It aims to provide a perspective for understanding their range and ambitions, and to indicate the potential that measures of this type have for improving health care. It reveals how much is being learned about the psychological mechanisms that mediate quality of life, and the implications for future measures. More basically, the book introduces skills needed for the selection, appraisal, use and development of measures of patient-centred outcomes, skills for measuring health as it is perceived and experienced by patients.

The book shows that we live in exciting times in health outcomes measurement. The field is expanding rapidly into exciting new areas of research. These include the way health states are perceived and experienced, new techniques for developing scientific measures, and tests that may prevent future health states not merely describe current ones. Hopefully the book will act as a compass to negotiate these issues and assist the reader to make effective choices about measurement. Ultimately its intention is to help healthcare workers gather information from patients so as to make better healthcare decisions.

The book discusses the background to health outcome measures and their basis in clinical medicine, health economics, and psychometrics. Questions that confront practitioners are considered such as the place of single item global questions and when to use a generic versus a disease-specific measure. It also provides the reader with a set of criteria for assessing the adequacy of an instrument and addresses when and how to develop a new measure.

There is a need to improve the understanding of quality of life measures. This book aims to de-mystify and clarify issues, to reveal that there is indeed ‘gold in them their hills’.

Who should read this book?

This book is aimed at those involved in applying, developing, and researching measures of patient-centered health outcome, be they quality managers, administrators, and researchers. It is relevant to clinical medicine, allied health, and community care, to anyone who wishes to understand and improve health outcomes from the patients’ perspective.

This book aims to give the reader the ability to:

• Explain the aim of patient-centered health outcomes measurement and how it relates to traditional healthcare measurement
• Understand the range of patient-centered measures, including health-related quality of life, functional health status, and patient satisfaction
• Recognise the key role that patients play as active agents in their own quality of life
• Specify the aim of a health measurement instrument in operational terms and know why this is important
• Explain what is meant by test validity and how to develop and assess validity
• Explain the role of test reliability and associated techniques (e.g. Cronbach’s alpha)
• Explain the relative advantages of measures based on Classical Test Theory, Rasch Analysis/ Item Response Theory, and single items, in measuring patient-centred outcomes
• Appreciate the distinctive origins and diverse nature of common instruments
• Critically assess an instrument
• Commence the development of a new measure for assessing patient-centered outcomes for a treatment program or population

Measuring Quality of Life in Health provides a comprehensive introduction for all those interested in the application and use of patient-centred health outcome measures.
 

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