Web-based versus paper administration of common ophthalmic questionnaires: comparison of subscale scores.
OBJECTIVE: To compare participants' responses to Web-based and paper-and-pencil versions of an ophthalmic, patient-reported outcome (PRO) questionnaire.
DESIGN: Questionnaire development.
PARTICIPANTS: Matched subjects with ocular surface disease (OSD) (n = 68) and without OSD (controls, n = 50).
METHODS: Subjects completed a standard, paper-and-pencil and a Web-based version of the same questionnaire in randomized order. The administered questionnaire included several ophthalmic PRO subscales: the National Eye Institute's (NEI's) Refractive Error Quality of Life Instrument's Clarity of Vision, Near Vision, Far Vision, Glare, Symptoms, Worry, and Satisfaction with Correction subscales; the Ocular Surface Disease Index's (OSDI's) Symptoms subscale; and the NEI's Visual Function Questionnaire's Driving subscale. Possible scores for each subscale ranged from 0 (no difficulty) to 100 (most difficulty). Agreement of subscale scores between modes of administration was assessed using the Bland-Altman approach and multivariable logistic regression.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Subscale scores and an unweighted average total score for each mode of administration.
RESULTS: Mean differences in scores between modes of administration ranged from -2.1 to +2.3 units. Although no differences were found to be statistically significant, the Worry and Satisfaction with Correction subscales approached statistical significance (P = 0.07 and 0.08, respectively). Although most subscale mean differences in score did not differ significantly by gender, age (≥40 vs. <40 years), disease status (OSD vs. control), order of administration, or time between completion of the questionnaires, women had slightly greater score differences than men for the Driving (P = 0.04) and Clarity of Vision (P = 0.03) subscales; those with OSD had greater score differences for Clarity of Vision than did controls (P = 0.0006); and those aged ≥40 years had slightly greater differences in OSDI Symptoms subscale than those aged <40 years (P = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this Food and Drug Administration and NEI collaboration is the first study to evaluate the equivalence of Web-based and paper versions of ophthalmic PRO questionnaires. We found no evidence of clinically significant differences between scores obtained by the 2 modes for any of the examined subscales. A Web-based instrument should yield scores equivalent to those obtained by standard methods, providing a useful tool that may facilitate ophthalmic innovation.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.