Madden RH, Bundy A. The ICF has made a difference to functioning and disability measurement and statistics. Disabil Rehabil. 2019 Jun;41(12):1450-1462. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1431812. Epub 2018 Feb 12. PubMed PMID: 29433362.
Fifteen years after the publication of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), we investigated: How ICF applications align with ICF aims, contents and principles, and how the ICF has been used to improve measurement of functioning and related statistics.
In a scoping review, we investigated research published 2001–2015 relating to measurement and statistics for evidence of: a change in thinking; alignment of applications with ICF specifications and philosophy; and the emergence of new knowledge.
The ICF is used in diverse applications, settings and countries, with processes largely aligned with the ICF and intended to improve measurement and statistics: new national surveys, information systems and ICF-based instruments; and international efforts to improve disability data. Knowledge is growing about the components and interactions of the ICF model, the diverse effects of the environment on functioning, and the meaning and measurement of participation.
The ICF provides specificity and a common language in the complex world of functioning and disability and is stimulating new thinking, new applications in measurement and statistics, and the assembling of new knowledge. Nevertheless, the field needs to mature. Identified gaps suggest ways to improve measurement and statistics to underpin policies, services and outcomes.
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