Background:In the context of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on HIV testing in the emergency department (ED) setting, we evaluated preferences for survey modality and data quality arising from each modality. Methods:Enrolled participants were offered the choice of answering a survey via audio computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) or pen and paper self-administered questionnaire (SAQ). We evaluated factors influencing choice of survey modality. We defined unusable data for a particular survey domain as answering fewer than 75% of the questions in the domain. We then compared ACASI and SAQ with respect to unusable data for domains that address sensitive topics. Results:Of 758 enrolled ED patients, 218 (29%) chose ACASI, 343 chose SAQ (45%) and 197 (26%) opted not to complete either. Results of the log-binomial regression indicated that older (RR = 1.08 per decade) and less educated participants (RR = 1.25) were more likely to choose SAQ over ACASI. ACASI yielded substantially less unusable data than SAQ. Conclusions:In the ED setting there may be a tradeoff between increased participation with SAQ versus better data quality with ACASI. Future studies of novel approaches to maximize the use of ACASI in the ED setting are needed.
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