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In outcome measures, item response theory (IRT) validation can deliver interval-scaled high-quality measurement that can be harnessed using computerized adaptive tests (CATs) to pose fewer questions to patients. We aimed to develop a CAT by developing an IRT model for the Patient Evaluation Measure (PEM) for patients undergoing cubital tunnel syndrome (CuTS) surgery. Nine hundred and seventy-nine completed PEM responses of patients with CuTS in the United Kingdom Hand Registry were used to develop and calibrate the CAT. Its performance was then evaluated in a simulated cohort of 1000 patients. The CAT reduced the original PEM length from ten to a median of two questions (range two to four), while preserving a high level of precision (median standard error of measurement of 0.27). The mean error between the CAT score and full-length score was 0.08%. A Bland-Altman analysis showed good agreement with no signs of bias. The CAT version of the PEM can substantially reduce patient burden while enhancing construct validity by harnessing IRT for patients undergoing CuTS surgery.

Original publication




Journal article


J hand surg eur vol

Publication Date



Patient-Reported Outcome Measures, computerized adaptive testing, cubital tunnel syndrome, surgical procedures