Lessons and pitfalls of interactive voice response in medical research

Contemp Clin Trials. 2007 Sep;28(5):593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2007.02.007. Epub 2007 Mar 3.


Interactive voice response (IVR) technology is a robust method of data collection that has been underutilized in behavioral medicine and clinical pharmacotherapy research. While it is clear that there is an increasing interest in this technology, published research in the medical field has not described its implementation with sufficient detail to evaluate or replicate the use of interactive voice response systems (IVRS) as part of the methodology. In this article, we hope to shed more light on IVRS as an electronic data capture tool in clinical and behavioral research. We will describe how the IVRS work, the advantages and pitfalls of IVRS, and some of the lessons we have learned from administering a number of clinical studies using IVRS. Readers will gain a better understanding of this technology, which will enable them to optimize its usage in clinical research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Research / instrumentation
  • Behavioral Research / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / instrumentation
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Data Collection / instrumentation
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Reminder Systems / instrumentation
  • Speech Recognition Software*
  • Telephone / instrumentation*
  • User-Computer Interface*