Classifying the Measures

Classifying the Measures

To cater to our different audiences, we used 2 frameworks:
1) the World Health Organization’s ICF
2) Clinical areas


A conceptual framework developed by the World Health Organization called the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health or ICF for short (WHO 2001). See Figure 1.

The advantages of using this framework include:

  1. It is well recognized and used by the international community.
  2. It was created to provide standard language for use when discussing health and health-related domains.
  3. Other reviews of outcome measures have used the ICF for similar purposes (Salter et al. 2005).

Figure 1. Overview of the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health

Overview chart

  • The measures were classified according to the body function/structure, activity and participation constructs. Table 1 briefly outlines the definitions.

Table 1. Definitions for Body Function/Structure, Activity and Participation

  • We included an additional dimension in order to help classify QOL measures.
  • For version 1, 3 classifiers knowledgeable to both outcome measures and the ICF independently categorized all of the measures.
  • The classifiers later met to reconcile any disagreement about classification of the measures.
  • When a multidimensional measure covered more than one construct (e.g. activity and participation) they placed it in the category where the measure had the most items.
  • Upon classification into the main domains, the measures were further categorized into appropriate subcategories based on the ICF definitions.
  • During the completion of the version 3 update, new measures were found that did not easily fit into any one of the ICF domains or the QoL category. Currently, we have included these measures in the ‘Body Functions/Structures’ category. While we acknowledge this is not a perfect fit, we considered it to be the best option until new iterations of the ICF are available. Please see Table 2 which outlines these subcategories.

Table 2. Subcategories used for classifying measures

Clinical Areas

Due to clinical input received in Round 1 of the Delphi process, we also moved into categorizing measures into “clinical areas”. This is to facilitate use of this website for users unfamiliar with ICF terminology.

Clinical areas used:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Community Reintegration
  • Lower Limb & Walking
  • Mental Health
  • Neurological Impairment & Autonomic Dysfunction
  • Other Affected Physiological Systems
  • Pain
  • Quality of Life & Health Status
  • Self Care & Daily Living
  • Sexuality & Reproduction
  • Skin Health
  • Spasticity
  • Upper Limb
  • Wheeled Mobility