The application of computer touch-screen technology in screening for psychosocial distress in an ambulatory oncology setting

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2002 Dec;11(4):245-53. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2354.2002.00310.x.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of computer touch-screen technology as a method for patients to report psychosocial functioning in an ambulatory cancer clinic. Patients participating in a randomized trial evaluating the use of self-reported psychosocial information in the clinical encounter were surveyed. The patients completed the Cancer Needs Questionnaire (CNQ), European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the Beck Depression Inventory - Short Form (BDI) using a touch-screen computer. The time taken to complete the questionnaires was recorded electronically. Patients completed a seven-item pen and paper survey to assess acceptability of the process. Of the 450 patients, 244 (54%) were 60 years or older. Although over half the patients had no prior computer experience, nearly all found the touch screen easy to use and the instructions easy to understand. Each question was answered by at least 447 (99.3%) patients. The average time to complete the CNQ was 9.1 min, EORTC QLQ-C30 4.0 min and BDI 3.1 min. Factors influencing time to completion were prior use of computers, physical condition, education and overall level of needs. The study found that the use of computer touch-screen technology is an acceptable and efficient method for obtaining self-reported information on quality of life, cancer needs and psychological distress.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncology Service, Hospital*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • User-Computer Interface*