NIH Toolbox® for Use in Clinical Settings

Often clinicians feel pressured to accomplish more in less time. Luckily the NIH Toolbox can help. Designed to be quick and flexible, you can administer any NIH Toolbox test in 7 minutes or less. Using state-of-the art test development techniques, including Item Response Theory and Computer Adaptive Testing, these brief tests can preserve psychometric qualities (e.g., validity and reliability) frequently associated with much longer tests. The NIH Toolbox V3 Score Reports offer a quick and individualized view of the patient’s functioning. Sign in or register to gain access to NIH Toolbox User Resources and view a sample report.

Test Selection

Patients present a variety of neurobehavioral complaints from mobility issues to cognitive deficits. Using the NIH Toolbox, a clinician can select amongst a wide array of tests and comprise their own custom battery as needed. For example, to assess a patient’s presenting problem, an examiner could administer tests of executive function (cognition), dexterity (motor), hearing (sensation), and social withdrawal (emotion) in under 20 minutes. Because scoring happens automatically, the score report is ready for examiner review at the end of the assessment.

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Highlighted Use Case

In a recent scoping review of 281 clinically focused publications (Fox et al, 2022), the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery was used most frequently of all the test domains (Cognition = 225, Emotion = 49, Motor = 29, Sensation = 16). The type of clinical population also varied across studies. The most common clinical categories were neurological disorders (n = 111), followed by psychological disorders (n = 39) and cancer (n =21). As of May 2021, these publications listed in this review have been cited over 1,000 times.

Two medical professionals sit in a hospital hallway discussing their patient's treatment. One of the doctors is holding a folder containing medical records and test results. They are consulting the data.

Explore Our Assessments Solutions


Mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension, such as thinking, knowing, remembering, judging and problem solving.

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A set of complex physiological processes that require the integration of multiple systems, including neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neural motor and sensory-perceptual systems.

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Biochemical and neurological process of detecting incoming nerve impulses as nervous system activity.

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Strong feelings, such as joy, sorrow, or fear. It is an affective state of consciousness in which one of these feelings is experienced.

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Getting Started with the NIH Toolbox® is easy!

View aspects of the system at no cost. Simply download the NIH Toolbox app onto your iPad today, apply for cognition access, and review any test on the app for free.  

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