Oswestry Disability Index scoring made easy.


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  • Author:  P B Pynsent  

  • Abstract:  INTRODUCTION: Low back pain effects up to 80% of the population at some time during their active life. Questionnaires are available to help measure pain and disability. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is the most commonly used outcome measure for low back pain. The aim of this study was to see if training in completing the ODI forms improved the scoring accuracy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The last 100 ODI forms completed in a hospital's spinal clinic were reviewed retrospectively and errors in the scoring were identified. Staff members involved in scoring the questionnaire were made aware of the errors and the correct method of scoring explained. A chart was created with all possible scores to aid the staff with scoring. A prospective audit on 50 questionnaires was subsequently performed. RESULTS: The retrospective study showed that 33 of the 100 forms had been incorrectly scored. All questionnaires where one or more sections were not completed by the patient were incorrectly scored. A scoring chart was developed and staff training was implemented. This reduced the error rate to 14% in the prospective audit. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians applying outcome measures should read the appropriate literature to ensure they understand the scoring system. Staff must then be given adequate training in the application of the questionnaires.

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