Original Article: The Importance of Users' Tools and Priorities as a Guide to Future Outcomes ResearchA Comprehensive Clinical Assessment Tool to Inform Policy and Practice: Applications of the Minimum Data SetMor, Vincent PhDAuthor Information From the Department of Community Health and Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island. Supported in part by a NIA Grant AG11624 and CMS contract 98–026 to Abt Associates with a contract to Brown University. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agency. Reprints: Vincent Mor, PhD, Department of Community Health and Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University School of Medicine, Box G-A418, Providence, RI 02192. E-mail: email@example.com Medical Care: April 2004 - Volume 42 - Issue 4 - p III-50-III-59 doi: 10.1097/01.mlr.0000120104.01232.5e Buy Metrics Abstract The Minimum Data Set (MDS) for nursing home (NH) resident assessment, designed to assess elders’ functional status and care needs, exemplifies how the information needs of clinical practice are congruent with those of research. Building on a review of the published literature, this article describes the development of the MDS, its reliability and validity testing, as well as the variety of different policy and research uses to which it has been applied. Interrater reliability of items and internal consistency of MDS summary scales is generally good to excellent. Validation studies reveal good correspondence to research quality instruments for cognition, activities of daily living, and diagnoses with more variable results for vision, pain, mood, and behavior scales. To date, no consistent evidence suggests that applications of MDS data for case-mix reimbursement and quality indicator monitoring systematically bias the data. Although facility variation in data quality could compromise some applications, creation of the MDS as a clinical tool for care planning provides an example of how assessment tools with clinical use can be used in administrative databases for research and policy applications. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.