Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO), commonly known as electronic patient diaries and Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOA) can be delivered via a variety of methods and across a myriad of different devices including computers, tablets, smart phones, etc. The device chosen and method of delivery of the patient diaries must be compatible with the patient group being studied and the timelines specific to the study. Numerous patient factors as well as characteristics of the study itself and the instruments utilized need to be taken into consideration when deciding on the appropriate ePRO device.
Factors such as screen size, patient dexterity, and technological proficiency in terms of mobile device use, appropriate reminders and daily diary commitments greatly influence both the ability of the patient to complete the diaries effectively as well as overall patient compliance in the trial. Apart from being appropriate for the patient population, the screen size has to accommodate the instrument that is to be delivered as an electronic Patient Reported Outcome (ePRO). For example, if the instrument involves graphics and diagrams that will be too small to view on a smartphone, perhaps tablet is a better choice. Visual Analog Scales also have to be accommodated with an appropriate screen size to ensure proper visibility.
Overall device size may also be a factor, especially when the patient may need to carry the devices with them at times. Typically, smartphones are easiest. However, if the instrument or screen size required needs to be larger than a smartphone, tablets are often a viable alternative. Tablets are also the top choice for ePRO completion at research sites as they provide a good balance of portability and screen size and allow for patients to conveniently complete their ePROs in the waiting room or the doctor’s office.