Electronic Diaries: Appraisal and Current Status
Author: Broderick, Joan E.
Source: Pharmaceutical Medicine, Volume 22, Number 2, 2008 , pp. 69-74(6)
Publisher: Adis International
Abstract:The recent explosion of technology has moved the field of patient reported outcomes into a new era. The use of paper-and-pencil questionnaires administered before and after treatment has been eclipsed by highly sophisticated random prompts for symptom ratings at multiple points throughout the day; a method known as ecological momentary assessment (EMA). During the last 25 years, research has demonstrated that retrospective ratings are subject to a variety of cognitive heuristics that can distort the report. Initially, this was addressed by adopting paper diary protocols involving multiple ratings in a day or across a week. However, advances in technology subsequently led to the use of electronic platforms for EMA assessment. A good deal of research has since been conducted to compare paper and electronic formats. Issues of compliance have been particularly problematic for paper diaries. Electronic technologies can be expensive and require expertise in programming and data management. Not all research questions will require intensive momentary assessment, and end-of-day ratings may be adequate for many applications. What is required of the investigator is familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of the methods and platforms available, as well as a reasoned decision to select a particular methodology for the study question at hand.
Document Type: Leading Article
Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA
Publication date: January 1, 2008