Outcome Measures

What Are Outcome Measures?

Outcome measures are all the possible measurements of results that may stem from exposure to a causal factor, or from preventive or therapeutic interventions.

All identified measurements of changes in health status arising as a consequence of the handling of a health problem

Types of Outcome Measures


  • Self-perceived pain
  • Physical disability
  • Psychological well-being
  • Depression
  • Mental status (dementia)


  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Body mass index
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • White blood cell count


  • Anything that can be described in words (usually in quotes)
  • Examples
  • – “I have not been able to sleep through the night in years!”
  • – “I didn’t know that back pain was also related to my fatigue.”


  • Anything that can be described in numbers (subjective or objective)
  • Examples
  • – Lab results
  • – Height/weight
  • – Pain levels on VAS
  • – Quality of life on SF36

Which Outcome Measures should be used?

  • Look at which measures are consistently used in the literature
  • Read articles on new outcome measures
  • – Reliability
  • – Validity

Validity and Reliability of Outcome Measures

  • Need to do conduct literature search to determine the reliability and validity of the outcome measures used.
  • If you find that instruments used are not reliable or valid (or not enough literature) then that needs to be commented on in the discussion section.

This page can be downloaded as a .pdf here: Outcome Measures (1)