Use of tablet personal computers for sensitive patient-reported information.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Notebook-style computers (e/Tablets) are increasingly replacing paper methods for collecting patient-reported information. Discrepancies in data between these methods have been found in oncology for sexuality-related questions. A study was performed to formulate hypotheses regarding causes for discrepant responses and to analyze whether electronic data collection adds value over paper-based methods when collecting data on sensitive topics. A total of 56 breast cancer patients visiting Duke Breast Clinic (North Carolina) participated by responding to 12 subscales of 5 survey instruments in electronic (e/Tablet) format and to a paper version of 1 of these surveys, at each visit. Twenty-one participants (38%) provided dissimilar responses on paper and electronic surveys to one item of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) Social Well-Being scale that asked patients to rate their satisfaction with their current sex life. Among these 21 patients were 8 patients who answered the question in the electronic environment, and 13 patients who answered both paper and electronic versions but with different responses. Eleven patients (29%) did not respond to the item on either e/Tablet or paper; 45 patients (80%) answered it on e/Tablet; and 37 patients (66%) responded on the paper version. The e/Tablet electronic system may provide a "safer" environment than paper questionnaires for cancer patients to answer private or highly personal questions on sensitive topics such as sexuality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dupont, A; Wheeler, J; Herndon, JE; Coan, A; Zafar, SY; Hood, L; Patwardhan, M; Shaw, HS; Lyerly, HK; Abernethy, AP

Published Date

  • May 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 91 - 97

PubMed ID

  • 19507456

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1544-6794


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States