Working mechanism of a multidimensional computerized adaptive test for fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis

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Background This paper demonstrates the mechanism of a multidimensional computerized adaptive test (CAT) to measure fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A CAT can be used to precisely measure patient-reported outcomes at an individual level as items are consequentially selected based on the patient’s previous answers. The item bank of the CAT Fatigue RA has been developed from the patients’ perspective and consists of 196 items pertaining to three fatigue dimensions: severity, impact and variability of fatigue. Methods The CAT Fatigue RA was completed by fifteen patients. To test the CAT’s working mechanism, we applied the flowchart-check-method. The adaptive item selection procedure for each patient was checked by the researchers. The estimated fatigue levels and the measurement precision per dimension were illustrated with the selected items, answers and flowcharts. Results The CAT Fatigue RA selected all items in a logical sequence and those items were selected which provided the most information about the patient’s individual fatigue. Flowcharts further illustrated that the CAT reached a satisfactory measurement precision, with less than 20 items, on the dimensions severity and impact and to somewhat lesser extent also for the dimension variability. Patients’ fatigue scores varied across the three dimensions; sometimes severity scored highest, other times impact or variability. The CAT’s ability to display different fatigue experiences can improve communication in daily clinical practice, guide interventions, and facilitate research into possible predictors of fatigue. Conclusions The results indicate that the CAT Fatigue RA measures precise and comprehensive. Once it is examined in more detail in a consecutive, elaborate validation study, the CAT will be available for implementation in daily clinical practice and for research purposes
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Pages (from-to)23-
JournalHealth and quality of life outcomes
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • METIS-310138
  • IR-95320


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