Electronic capture of patients’ reports of their health is significant in clinical nephrology research because health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients with end-stage renal disease is compromised and assessment by patients of their HRQOL in practice is relatively uncommon.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate patient satisfaction with and time involved in administering HRQOL and symptom assessment measures using tablet computers in two outpatient home dialysis clinics.
A cross-sectional observational study design was employed.
The study was conducted in two home dialysis clinics.
Fifty-six patients participated in the study; 35 males (63%) and 21 females (37%) with a mean age of 66 ± 12 (36-90 years old) were included. Forty-nine participants were on peritoneal dialysis (87%), 6 on home hemodialysis (11%), and 1 on nocturnal home hemodialysis (2%).
Measures included the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-36 (KDQOL-36), the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) and Participant’s Level of Satisfaction in Using a Tablet Computer.
Using a tablet computer, participants completed the three measures. Descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations were calculated.
Participants’ satisfaction with use of the tablet computer was high; 66% were “very satisfied”, 7% “satisfied”, 2% “slightly satisfied”, and 18% “neutral”. On the 7-point Likert-type scale, the mean satisfaction score was 5.11 (SD = 1.6). Mean time to complete the measures was: Level of Satisfaction 1.15 minutes (SD = 0.41), ESAS 2.55 minutes (SD = 1.04), and KDQOL 9.56 minutes (SD = 2.03); the mean time to complete all three instruments was 13.19 minutes (SD = 2.42). There were no significant correlations between level of satisfaction and age, gender, HRQOL, time taken to complete surveys, computer experience, or comfort with technology. Comfort with technology and computer experience were highly correlated, r = .7, p (one-tailed) < 0.01.
Limitations include lack of generalizability because of a small self-selected sample of relatively healthy patients and a lack of psychometric testing on the measure of satisfaction.
Participants were satisfied with the platform and the time involved for completion of instruments was modest. Routine use of HRQOL measures for clinical purposes may be facilitated through use of tablet computers.