Audio computerized self-report interview use in prenatal clinics: audio computer-assisted self interview with touch screen to detect alcohol consumption in pregnant women: application of a new technology to an old problem

Comput Inform Nurs. 2002 Mar-Apr;20(2):46-52. doi: 10.1097/00024665-200203000-00009.


Computer interviewing to obtain sensitive information is not a new concept. However, concerns about the acceptance of computers in disadvantaged populations with potentially low literacy led us to combine audio- and touch-screen technologies with an audio computerized self-report interview to obtain information about alcohol use. This study evaluated acceptance and ease of use by a disadvantaged population of pregnant women in the District of Columbia. Patients attending an initial visit at prenatal clinics answered questions anonymously about their consumption of alcoholic beverages and other personal information. The questionnaire was programmed on a laptop computer. The computer administered the recorded questions via earphones, as well as displayed them on the screen, and patients answered by touching the computer screen. Results were immediately available. A total of 507 women were interviewed, who were primarily African American, non-Hispanic, and never married. Nearly 24% did not complete a high school education, 43% were unemployed, and 30% received public assistance. Most of the women (59%) used computers occasionally (a few days a month) or never. Nearly all patients (96%) reported that the computer was not difficult to use, and approximately 90% liked answering the questions by computer. The study demonstrates that using computers to screen for alcohol use in disadvantaged pregnant populations is feasible and acceptable to the patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Demography
  • District of Columbia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • User-Computer Interface*