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Qual Life Res. 2001;10(8):683-91.

Does electronic implementation of questionnaires used in asthma alter responses compared to paper implementation?

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Division of Respiratory Medicine, Santa Cabrini Hospital, Montréal, Canada.



Electronic implementation of questionnaires has many advantages, but there may be concerns that it alters versions that were validated on paper.


To determine whether electronic implementation alters responses to the SF-36 and asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ), compared to paper implementation.


Patients with asthma presenting to a pneumologist were asked for consent to participate. Each patient completed both forms of each questionnaire. The order of presentation was alternated sequentially, with the first patient completing the electronic version first. Each patient waited at least 2 hours between completions to minimize recollection of answers. For both the SF-36 and AQLQ, intraclass correlations coefficients were calculated to compare patients' scores, for each scale and overall, on the electronic and paper versions.


Sixty-eight patients (mean age: 48 years, 50 females) of 311 contacted were enrolled. Overall intraclass correlation coefficients for the SF-36 and AQLQ were excellent (0.965 and 0.991 respectively). For paper versions, eight questions (AQLQ) and 24 (SF-36) were left blank and nine questions (SF-36) were answered incorrectly by patients selecting more than one answer. Electronic data for one patient could not be retrieved.


Collecting SF-36 and AQLQ data electronically can decrease the number of spoiled responses without altering the results. Successful implementation depends on proper instruction of the respondent in the handling of the electronic instrument.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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