BACKGROUND: Electronic applications are increasingly being used in hospitals for numerous purposes.
OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to assess differences in the characteristics of patients who choose paper versus electronic questionnaires and to evaluate the data quality of both approaches.
METHODS: Between October 2012 and June 2013, 136 patients participated in a study on diagnosis-induced stress and anxiety. Patients were asked to fill out questionnaires at six different moments during the diagnostic phase. They were given the opportunity to fill out the questionnaires on paper or electronically (a combination of tablet and Web-based questionnaires). Demographic characteristics and completeness of returned data were compared between groups.
RESULTS: Nearly two-thirds of patients (88/136, 64.7%) chose to fill out the questionnaires on paper, and just over a third (48/136, 35.3%) preferred the electronic option. Patients choosing electronic questionnaires were significantly younger (mean 47.3 years vs mean 53.5 in the paper group, P=.01) and higher educated (P=.004). There was significantly more missing information (ie, at least one question not answered) in the paper group during the diagnostic day compared to the electronic group (using a tablet) (28/88 vs 1/48, P
CONCLUSIONS: Younger patients and patients with a higher level of education have a preference towards filling out questionnaires electronically. In the hospital, a tablet is an excellent medium for patients to fill out questionnaires with very little missing information. However, for filling out questionnaires at home, paper questionnaires resulted in a better response than Web-based questionnaires.
- breast cancer
- electronic questionnaires
- paper questionnaires
- quality of collected data
ASJC Scopus subject areas