Judging the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome assessment tools to guide future tool development: The use of clinimetrics as opposed to psychometrics

Philip M. Westgate, Enrique Gomez-Pomar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the face of the current Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) epidemic, there is considerable variability in the assessment and management of infants with NAS. In this manuscript, we particularly focus on NAS assessment, with special attention given to the popular Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Score (FNAS). A major instigator of the problem of variable practices is that multiple modified versions of the FNAS exist and continue to be proposed, including shortened versions. Furthermore, the validity of such assessment tools has been questioned, and as a result, the need for better tools has been suggested. The ultimate purpose of this manuscript, therefore, is to increase researchers' and clinicians' understanding on how to judge the usefulness of NAS assessment tools in order to guide future tool development and to reduce variable practices. In short, we suggest that judgment of NAS assessment tools should be made on a clinimetrics viewpoint as opposed to psychometrically. We provide examples, address multiple issues that must be considered, and discuss future tool development. Furthermore, we urge researchers and clinicians to come together, utilizing their knowledge and experience, to assess the utility and practicality of existing assessment tools and to determine if one or more new or modified tools are needed with the goal of increased agreement on the assessment of NAS in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number204
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Westgate and Gomez-Pomar.

Keywords

  • Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Score
  • Formative model
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Score
  • Predictive accuracy
  • Reflective model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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