Research: Can you do a questionaire

Jongen et al. Adherence to monthly online self-assessments for short-term monitoring: a 1-year study in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients after start of disease modifying treatment. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2013 Apr 9;7:293-300. 

BACKGROUNDThe participation of neurologists and patients in studies on the effectiveness and safety of newly authorized drugs in multiple sclerosis (MS) is insufficient. Monthly online self-assessments using patient-reported outcomes may help in short-term monitoring of neurological changes and side effects. 

OBJECTIVE: Investigate in relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients the adherence to monthly online self-assessments after the start of disease modifying treatment.

METHODS: Observational study in 39 neurological departments in The Netherlands. Patients starting glatiramer acetate treatment were instructed to complete online the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale 5-item version and the 8-item Leeds Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life scale every month during 1 year (T0 toT12).

RESULTS: Sixty-three investigators included 163 analyzable patients. At T3, 148 (90.8%) patients had completed all questionnaires; at T6, 142 (87.1%); at T9, 133 (81.6%); and at T12, 123 (75.5%). Eight (4.9%) patients did not complete any questionnaire. Median values for inter-assessment intervals ranged from 32 to 34 days (first quartile [Q1] 30 days, third quartile [Q3] 41 days), and the final assessment was at 417 days (median: Q1 385 days, Q3 480 days). Forty-three (26.3%) patients completed the questionnaires at all time points (completion adherent) with their final assessment within 30 days after the scheduled T12 (interval adherent). Eighty (49.1%) patients were completion adherent, but not interval adherent. Forty (24.5%) patients were not completion adherent, as they discontinued assessments prematurely. Men were more interval adherent than women (47.5% vs 20.0%; P = 0.001). 

CONCLUSION: The observation that three out of four (75.5%) RRMS patients completed two short questionnaires at all monthly time points during 1 year after the start of disease modifying treatment suggests that intensive online monitoring in this patient group is feasible. As only one in five (19.6%) patients adhered to the time intervals between self-assessments, measures are needed that improve the timely completion of questionnaires. 

This study shows that  you can do questionnaires but you cannot always be bothered to fill them out in rigid fashion. Surveys on the Blog also suffer from survey fatigue.