Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 181–184 | Cite as

Reliability and Acceptability of Automated Telephone Surveys Among Spanish- and English-Speaking Mental Health Services Recipients

  • Benjamin B. Brodey
  • Craig S. Rosen
  • Inger S. Brodey
  • Breanne Sheetz
  • Jürgen Unutzer


Interactive Voice Response (IVR), an automated system that administers surveys over the phone, is a potentially important technology for mental health services research. Although a number of studies have compared IVR to live interviews, few have looked at IVR in comparison to pencil-and-paper survey administration. Further, few studies have included subjects from those populations most likely to benefit from IVR technology, namely patients with lower education levels and non-English-speaking patients. This randomized clinical study, conducted at a community health center serving low-income English- and Spanish-speaking populations, assessed the reliability of an IVR-administered Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) relative to a paper-and-pencil version. The study was adequately powered. Results showed that patients gave similar responses to the IVR and paper-and-pencil surveys; in addition, patients were generally equally satisfied with both experiences. We conclude that, while more large-scale research is needed, IVR can be a useful survey administration tool.


IVR telephone survey BSI satisfaction CAT 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin B. Brodey
    • 1
  • Craig S. Rosen
    • 2
  • Inger S. Brodey
    • 3
  • Breanne Sheetz
    • 1
  • Jürgen Unutzer
    • 4
  1. 1.TeleSage, Inc.Chapel Hill
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanford
  3. 3.Curriculum in Comparative LiteratureUniversity of North CarolinaChapel Hill
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattle

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