A clinical trial comparing interviewer and computer-assisted assessment among clients with severe mental illness.
Demographic, behavioral, and diagnostic information should routinely be collected from clients with severe mental illness, and data gathering should employ the most efficient techniques available. Surveys are increasingly conducted via Web-based computer-assisted interviewing (CAI), but this technique is not well validated for patients with severe mental illness. A randomized clinical trial of 245 clients was carried out to compare face-to face and computer-assisted interviewing (233 clients completed two surveys).Self-report data were collected on demographic characteristics, substance abuse, risk behaviors for blood-borne diseases, trauma history, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Each client was assessed twice and randomly assigned to one of the four possible combinations of interviewer and computer (computer and computer, N=53; computer and interviewer, N=56; interviewer and computer, N=59; and interviewer and interviewer, N=65). The two formats were compared on feasibility, client preference, cost, reliability, convergent validity, and criterion validity.This study demonstrated the feasibility of CAI across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. All participants who began the CAI process completed the interview and responded to over 95% of the survey items. Participants liked using the computers as well as they liked face-to-face interviews, and they completed the CAI as quickly. CAI produced data as reliable and valid as face-to-face interviews produced and was less expensive, and results were available more quickly. The two formats were similar in criterion validity.CAI appears to be a viable technology for gathering clinical data from the population with severe mental illness and for transforming such information into a useful, quickly accessible form to aid in clinical decision making.
Wolford, G; Rosenberg, SD; Rosenberg, HJ; Swartz, MS; Butterfield, MI; Swanson, JW; Jankowski, MK
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