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Automated collection of quality-of-life data: a comparison of paper and computer touch-screen questionnaires

, : Automated collection of quality-of-life data: a comparison of paper and computer touch-screen questionnaires. Journal of Clinical Oncology 17(3): 998-1007

Purpose: To evaluate alternative automated methods of collecting data on quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients. After initial evaluation of a range of technologies, we compared computer touch-screen questionnaires with paper questionnaires scanned by optical reading systems in terms of patients' acceptance, data quality, and reliability. Patients and Methods: In a randomized cross-over trial, 149 cancer patients completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30, version 2.0 (EORTC QLQ-C30), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) on paper and on a touch screen. In a further test-retest study, 81 patients completed the electronic version of the questionnaires twice, with a time interval of 3 hours between questionnaires. Results: Fifty-two percent of the patients preferred the touch screen to paper; 24% had no preference. The quality of the data collected with the touch-screen system was good, with no missed responses. At the group level, the differences between scores obtained with the two modes of administration of the instruments were small, suggesting equivalence for most of the QOL scales, with the possible exception of the emotional, fatigue, and nausea/vomiting scales and the appetite item, where patients tended to give more positive responses on the touch screen. At the individual patient level, the agreement was good, with a kappa coefficient from 0.57 to 0.77 and percent global agreement from 61% to 97%. The electronic questionnaire had good test-retest reliability, with correlation coefficients between the two administrations from 0.78 to 0.95, kappa coefficients of agreement from 0.55 to 0.90, and percent global agreement from 56% to 100%. Conclusion: Computer touch-screen QOL questionnaires were well accepted by cancer patients, with good data quality and reliability.


PMID: 10071295

DOI: 10.1200/jco.1999.17.3.998

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