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Strategies to use tablet computers for collection of electronic patient-reported outcomes

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Background Mobile devices are increasingly being used for data collection in research. However, many researchers do not have experience in collecting data electronically. Hence, the purpose of this short report was to identify issues that emerged in a study that incorporated electronic capture of patient-reported outcomes in clinical settings, and strategies used to address the issues. Findings The issues pertaining to electronic patient-reported outcome data collection were captured qualitatively during a study on use of electronic patient-reported outcomes in two home dialysis units. Fifty-six patients completed three surveys on tablet computers, including the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-36, the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale, and a satisfaction measure. Issues that arose throughout the research process were recorded during ethics reviews, implementation process, and data collection. Four core issues emerged including logistics of technology, security, institutional and financial support, and electronic design. Conclusions Although use of mobile devices for data collection has many benefits, it also poses new challenges for researchers. Advance consideration of possible issues that emerge in the process, and strategies that can help address these issues, may prevent disruption and enhance validity of findings.

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    Research Material
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    © 2015 Schick-Makaroff and Molzahn. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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    • Schick-Makaroff, K., & Molzahn, A. 2015. Strategies to use tablet computers for collection of electronic patient-reported outcomes. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 13(1).