Ann Rheum Dis 67:1739-1741 doi:10.1136/ard.2008.090209
  • Clinical and epidemiological research

Self-assessments of patients via Tablet PC in routine patient care: comparison with standardised paper questionnaires

  1. J G Richter1,
  2. A Becker2,
  3. T Koch1,
  4. M Nixdorf1,
  5. R Willers3,
  6. R Monser3,
  7. B Schacher4,
  8. R Alten4,
  9. C Specker5,
  10. M Schneider1
  1. 1
    Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Rheumatology, University Hospital Duesseldorf, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
  2. 2
    Medical Clinic Gengenbach, Klinikum Offenburg-Gengenbach, Gengenbach, Germany
  3. 3
    Center for Information and Media Technology, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
  4. 4
    Rheumatology, Schlosspark-Klinik, Berlin, Germany
  5. 5
    Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, Kliniken Essen-Sued, Essen, Germany
  1. Jutta G Richter, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Rheumatology, University Hospital Duesseldorf, Moorenstr. 5, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany; richter{at}
  • Accepted 10 July 2008
  • Published Online First 22 July 2008


Objective: We evaluated the feasibility of electronic data capture of self-administered patient questionnaires using a Tablet PC for integration in routine patient management; we also compared these data with results received from corresponding paper–pencil versions.

Methods: Standardised patient questionnaires (FFbH/HAQ, BASDAI, SF-36) were implemented in our documentation software. 153 outpatients (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, spondyloarthritis) completed sets of questionnaires as paper–pencil and electronic versions using a Tablet PC. The quality and validity of data obtained using a Tablet PC and the capability of disabled patients to handle it were assigned; patients’ experiences, preferences and computer/internet use were also assessed.

Results: Scores obtained by direct data entry on the Tablet PC did not differ from the scores obtained by the paper–pencil questionnaires in the complete group and disease subgroups. No major difficulties using the Tablet PC occurred. 62.1% preferred remote data entry in the future. Seven (4.6%) patients felt uncomfortable with the Tablet PC due to their rheumatic disease.

Conclusions: Self-administered questionnaires via Tablet PC are a facile and capable option in patients with rheumatic diseases to monitor disease activity, efficacy and safety assessments continuously. Tablet PC applications offers directly available data for clinical decision-making improves quality of care by effective patient monitoring, and contributes to patients’ empowerment.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: Supported by a grant from the German Federal Minister of Education and Research (01GI/0447) within the Competence Network Rheumatology.