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Measurement properties of instruments assessing permanent functional impairment of the spine: a systematic review protocol
  1. Suelen Meira Goes1,
  2. Catherine M Trask2,
  3. Catherine Boden3,
  4. Brenna Bath1,
  5. Daniel Cury Ribeiro4,
  6. Paul Hendrick5,
  7. Lynne Clay4,
  8. Xiaoke Zeng2,
  9. Stephan Milosavljevic1
  1. 1 School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  2. 2 Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  3. 3 Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  4. 4 School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  5. 5 School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Suelen Meira Goes; suelen.goes{at}


Introduction Permanent functional impairment (PFI) of the spine is a rating system used by compensation authorities, such as workers compensation boards, to establish an appropriate level of financial compensation for persistent loss of function. Determination of PFI of the spine is commonly based on the assessment of spinal movement combined with other measures of physical and functional impairments; however, the reliability and validity of the measurement instruments used for these evaluations have yet to be established. The aim of this study is to systematically review and synthesise the literature concerning measurement properties of the various and different instruments used for assessing PFI of the spine.

Methods Three conceptual groups of terms (1) PFI, (2) spinal disorder and (3) measurement properties will be combined to search Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, PEDro, OTSeeker and Health and Safety Science Abstracts. We will examine peer-reviewed, full-text articles over the full available date range. Two reviewers will independently screen citations (title, abstract and full text) and perform data extraction. Included studies will be appraised as to their methodological quality using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments criteria. Findings will be summarised and presented descriptively, with meta-analysis pursued as appropriate.

Ethics and dissemination This review will summarise the current level of evidence of measurement properties of instruments used for assessing PFI of the spine. Findings of this review may be applicable to clinicians, policy-makers, workers’ compensation boards, other insurers and health and safety organisations. The findings will likely provide a foundation and direction for future research priorities for assessing spinal PFI.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42017060390.

  • disability
  • back
  • range of movement
  • psychometrics
  • validity
  • reliability
  • responsiveness

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  • Contributors SMG and SM conceptualised the initial review protocol and led the development of this manuscript. The entire team (SMG, SM, CB, CMT, BB, DCR, PH, LC and XZ) collaboratively drafted the manuscript, followed by numerous iterations and substantial input and appraisal from all authors. All authors have approved the final version of this manuscript.

  • Funding The Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia (WorkSafeBC grant number RS2015-SR01).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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