A comparison of paper with electronic patient-completed questionnaires in a preoperative clinic

Anesth Analg. 2005 Oct;101(4):1075-1080. doi: 10.1213/01.ane.0000168449.32159.7b.


In this unblinded randomized control trial we compared electronic self-administered Pre-Admission Adult Anesthetic Questionnaires (PAAQ) using touchscreen technology with pen and paper. Patients were recruited in the Pre-assessment Clinic if they had completed a PAAQ in the surgeon's office. Patients were randomized to study PAAQ using paper, hand-held computer (PDA), touchscreen desktop computer (kiosk), or tablet. Patients also completed a preference and satisfaction survey. The main outcome measures were percent agreement between the prestudy and study PAAQ and time to completion. Only six of the 366 patients approached refused to participate. The median time to completion of the PAAQ was shortest on the kiosk (2.3 min) and longest on the PDA (3.2 min) (chi2 = 14.5; P = 0.002). The mean agreement between the prestudy and the study PAAQ was approximately 94% across all study arms. The proportion of participants expressing comfort before and after completing the PAAQ increased from 10% to 97% on the computerized arms and from 60% to 64% on the paper arm. Touchscreen computer technology is an accurate, efficient platform for patient-administered PAAQ. Patients expressed comfort using the technology and preference for computerized versus paper for future questionnaires.

Implications: Self-administered electronic health questionnaires using touchscreen computer technology are an accurate means of collecting patient information in the preoperative setting and can provide a valuable basis for an electronic perioperative patient record. Patients expressed comfort and satisfaction with this method of questionnaire completion.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Computers, Handheld
  • Electronics
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*