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The aim of this study was to develop a core outcome set of what to measure in all future clinical research on hand fractures and joint injuries in adults. Phase 1 consisted of steps to identify potential outcome domains through systematic review of published studies, and exploration of the patient perspective through qualitative research, consisting of 25 semi-structured interviews and five focus groups. Phase 2 involved key stakeholder groups (patients, hand surgeons, and hand therapists) prioritizing the outcome domains via a three-round international Delphi survey, with a final consensus meeting to agree the final core outcome set. The systematic review of 160 studies identified 74 outcome domains based on the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health. Overall, 35 domains were generated through thematic analysis of the patient interviews and focus groups. The domains from these elements were synthesised to develop 37 outcome domains as the basis of the Delphi survey, with a further four generated from participant suggestions in Round 1. The Delphi survey identified 20 outcome domains as 'very important' for the core outcome set. At the consensus meeting, 27 participants from key stakeholder groups selected seven outcomes for the core outcome set: pain/discomfort with activity, pain/discomfort with rest, fine hand use/dexterity, self-hygiene/personal care, return to usual work/job, range of motion, and patient satisfaction with outcome/result. This set of core outcome domains is recommended as a minimum to be reported in all clinical research on hand fractures and joint injuries in adults. While this establishes what to measure, future work will focus on determining how best to measure these outcomes. By adopting this patient-centred core outcome set, consistency and comparability of studies will be improved, aiding meta-analysis and strengthening the evidence base for management of these common and impactful injuries.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone jt open

Publication Date





87 - 95