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Patient-reported outcome assessment after total joint replacement: comparison of questionnaire completion times on paper and tablet computer

  • Trauma Surgery
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Patient-reported outcome (PRO) assessment is becoming increasingly important after joint replacement surgery. However, PRO data collection, questionnaire handling, and data processing are time consuming and costly process. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficiency of PRO assessment using tablet computers compared with traditional paper questionnaires in a total hip or knee arthroplasty (THR or TKR) population.

Materials and methods

We recruited 100 patients from outpatient clinics attending for routine follow-up 2 months, 1 year, or 5 years after THR or TKR. Fifty patients completed the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) osteoarthritis score and Forgotten Joint Score-12 (FJS-12) questionnaires on paper, and 50 patients completed these on a tablet computer. Questionnaire completion was timed for each PRO assessment and for manual data entry of the paper questionnaires into the database. The t test, Mann–Whitney U test, Fisher’s exact test, and Wilcoxon test were used for statistical analysis.


The mean age of the patients was 67.0 years (standard deviation 10.3 years), with no significant difference between the two groups. Median time for WOMAC questionnaire completion (including data entry for the paper questionnaires) was 197 s for the paper version and 117 s for the tablet version (p < 0.001). Median times for completion of FJS-12 were comparable for paper and tablet versions (32 vs. 37 s). We did not find a significant correlation between age and time for questionnaire completion.


Electronic PRO data collection can substantially decrease time, logistics, and effort associated with questionnaire completion in daily clinical practice. It is also acceptable for use in an older arthroplasty population.

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This study was funded by a research grant from ‘Swiss Orthopaedics’ (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Orthopädie und Traumatologie-SGOT).

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Correspondence to N. Kesterke.

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Kesterke, N., Egeter, J., Erhardt, J.B. et al. Patient-reported outcome assessment after total joint replacement: comparison of questionnaire completion times on paper and tablet computer. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 135, 935–941 (2015).

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