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BACKGROUND: Routine use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and computerized adaptive tests (CATs) may improve care in a range of surgical conditions. However, most available CATs are neither condition-specific nor coproduced with patients and lack clinically relevant score interpretation. Recently, a PROM called the CLEFT-Q has been developed for use in the treatment of cleft lip or palate (CL/P), but the assessment burden may be limiting its uptake into clinical practice. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to develop a CAT for the CLEFT-Q, which could facilitate the uptake of the CLEFT-Q PROM internationally. We aimed to conduct this work with a novel patient-centered approach and make source code available as an open-source framework for CAT development in other surgical conditions. METHODS: CATs were developed with the Rasch measurement theory, using full-length CLEFT-Q responses collected during the CLEFT-Q field test (this included 2434 patients across 12 countries). These algorithms were validated in Monte Carlo simulations involving full-length CLEFT-Q responses collected from 536 patients. In these simulations, the CAT algorithms approximated full-length CLEFT-Q scores iteratively, using progressively fewer items from the full-length PROM. Agreement between full-length CLEFT-Q score and CAT score at different assessment lengths was measured using the Pearson correlation coefficient, root-mean-square error (RMSE), and 95% limits of agreement. CAT settings, including the number of items to be included in the final assessments, were determined in a multistakeholder workshop that included patients and health care professionals. A user interface was developed for the platform, and it was prospectively piloted in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Interviews were conducted with 6 patients and 4 clinicians to explore end-user experience. RESULTS: The length of all 8 CLEFT-Q scales in the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) Standard Set combined was reduced from 76 to 59 items, and at this length, CAT assessments reproduced full-length CLEFT-Q scores accurately (with correlations between full-length CLEFT-Q score and CAT score exceeding 0.97, and the RMSE ranging from 2 to 5 out of 100). Workshop stakeholders considered this the optimal balance between accuracy and assessment burden. The platform was perceived to improve clinical communication and facilitate shared decision-making. CONCLUSIONS: Our platform is likely to facilitate routine CLEFT-Q uptake, and this may have a positive impact on clinical care. Our free source code enables other researchers to rapidly and economically reproduce this work for other PROMs.

Original publication




Journal article


J med internet res

Publication Date





CAT, CLEFT-Q, cleft lip, cleft palate, computerized adaptive test, outcome assessment, patient-reported outcome measures, Humans, Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, Plastic Surgery Procedures, Surgery, Plastic, Computerized Adaptive Testing