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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

The OMERACT Stepwise Approach to Select and Develop Imaging Outcome Measurement Instruments: The Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Example

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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  • Lene Terslev
  • Esperanza Naredo
  • Helen I Keen
  • George A W Bruyn
  • Annamaria Iagnocco
  • Richard J Wakefield
  • Philip G Conaghan
  • Lara J Maxwell
  • Dorcas E Beaton
  • Maarten Boers
  • Maria-Antonietta D'Agostino
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OBJECTIVE: To describe the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) stepwise approach to select and develop an imaging instrument with musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) as an example.

METHODS: The OMERACT US Working Group (WG) developed a 4-step process to select instruments based on imaging. Step 1 applies the OMERACT Framework Instrument Selection Algorithm (OFISA) to existing US outcome measurement instruments for a specific indication. This step requires a literature review focused on the truth, discrimination, and feasibility aspects of the instrument for the target pathology. When the evidence is completely unsatisfactory, Step 2 is a consensus process to define the US characteristics of the target pathology including one or more so-called "elementary lesions". Step 3 applies the agreed definitions to the image, evaluates their reliability, develops a severity grading of the lesion(s) at a given anatomical site, and evaluates the effect of the acquisition technique on feasibility and lesion(s) detection. Step 4 applies and assesses the definition(s) and scoring system(s) in cross-sectional studies and multicenter trials. The imaging instrument is now ready to pass a final OFISA check.

RESULTS: With this process in place, the US WG now has 18 subgroups developing US instruments in 10 different diseases. Half of them have passed Step 3, and the groups for enthesitis (spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis), synovitis, and tenosynovitis (rheumatoid arthritis) have finished Step 4.

CONCLUSION: The US WG approach to select and develop outcome measurement instruments based on imaging has been repeatedly and successfully applied in US, but is generic for imaging and fits with OMERACT Filter 2.1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1394-1400
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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