Can the Toronto Extremity Salvage Score Produce Reliable Results When Used Online?
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Web-based questionnaires have become popular, however, access to the Internet can be biased regarding age, gender, and education, among other factors. Therefore, it is unknown whether this is a reasonable avenue to administer a questionnaire to patients or whether Web-based can be a reliable alternative to paper-based.
We determined whether the Internet version of the Toronto Extremity Salvage Score is reproducible compared with the paper-based version and the compliance and completion rates.
Patients and Methods
The study population consisted of 81 adults who had had surgery for a musculoskeletal tumor of the lower extremity more than 12 months earlier. The Toronto Extremity Salvage Score was administered by paper at a baseline interview and then readministered via Internet 7 to 14 days later to those with access.
Sixty of the 81 patients (74%) were able to use the Internet. Increasing age and lower education levels were correlated with a lower likelihood of using the Internet. Questionnaires were done online and on paper by 56 patients but 10 were excluded because of self-reported change in circumstances. The mean TESS was 85.7 (range, 41.1–100; SD, 17.26) for the paper-based questionnaire and 85.2 (range, 42.5–100; SD, 17.47) for the Internet-based questionnaire. The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.97.
The questionnaire can be transferred successfully to the Internet and can be used reliably instead of a paper-based instrument. Recruitment to use an Internet-based questionnaire is limited only by the percentage of patients able to access and use the Internet.
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