What Is a "Validated Questionnaire"? A Critical Review of Erectile Function Assessment.

In recent years, the assessment of erectile dysfunction (ED) has experienced a paradigm shift from objective, quantitative methods to subjective, qualitative patient-reported outcomes. Facilitated by this shift is the ongoing debate on questionnaire selection and need for standardization, particularly among sexual medicine specialists.

To review current literature on assessment of erectile function via patient-reported outcomes and discuss the context, advantages, and limitations of currently available questionnaires.

A thorough literature search of erectile function questionnaires developed from 1990 through 2019 was carried out using 3 methods: a search of the MedLine databases; hand-search of peer-reviewed urologic, sexual medicine, and health policy journals; and expert review. The following keywords were used: [assessment of], [inventory], [questionnaire], or [validated measure]; in combination with: [sexual function] or [erectile function]. Measures were stratified into one of the following 3 groups: screening, outcome, or disease-specific. 3 screening measures (International Index of Erectile Function, the Male Sexual Health Questionnaire, and Brief Male Sexual Inventory); 5 outcome measures (Sexual Health Inventory for Men, Erection Hardness Score, Erectile Dysfunction Inventory for Treatment and Satisfaction, and Treatment Satisfaction Scale); and 3 categories of disease-specific measures (cancer, Peyronie's disease, and spinal cord injury) were included.

Strengths, limitations, and valid uses of each erectile function questionnaire.

There currently exists a wide variety of screening, outcome, and disease-specific measures for ED diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. Rigor of psychometric validation varies greatly across studies. However, depending on purpose of use, all abovementioned questionnaires have merit for use in clinical practice, are nonredundant, and can complement and supplement one another.

Before choosing a specific measure for ED diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, there must be careful consideration of the questionnaire's psychometric properties, context of validation, and its possible limitations.

The patient reported outcome measures highlighted in this article complement and supplement one another, as each emphasizes a related yet distinct central theme. During selection for use in clinical practice and research studies, special attention needs to be paid to the context, strengths, and weaknesses of each measure.

When used conscientiously, patient-reported questionnaires can significantly optimize patient management. Yafi FA, Huynh LM, Ahlering T, et al. What Is a "Validated Questionnaire"? A Critical Review of Erectile Function Assessment. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

The journal of sexual medicine. 2020 Mar 04 [Epub ahead of print]

Faysal A Yafi, Linda My Huynh, Thomas Ahlering, Raymond Rosen

Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Health Orange, CA, USA. Electronic address: ., Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Health Orange, CA, USA., HealthCore/New England Research Institutes, Watertown, MA, USA.