Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 2000; 24(6):501-507.

Collecting Cancer Risk Factor Data from Hospital Outpatients: Use of Touch-Screen Computers

Geneviève Y Baratiny, BSc [Hons],a,b Elizabeth M. Campbell, PhD,a,b Rob W Sanson-Fisher, PhD,a,b June Graham, MHA,c and Jill Cockburn, PhDa,b

aDiscipline of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Newcastle; bHunter Centre for Health Advancement, and cJohn Hunter Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Jill Cockburn, PhD, Discipline of Behavioural Science, School of Population Health Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle. Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW 2287, Australia.

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of selected cancer risk factor data from hospital outpatients and the proportion of “at risk” patients who would like help from hospital staff to reduce risk factors. A touch-screen computer collected data from outpatients in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Eight hundred and nineteen outpatients completed the computerized interview. Of these, 35% were smokers, of whom 25% said that they would like help to stop smoking; 47% were overweight, with 48% indicating that they wanted assistance; 17% consumed harmful levels of alcohol, with 2% wanting help; 30% of eligible women were overdue for a Pap test, of whom 75% said that they wanted a referral to be screened, and 25% were overdue for a mammogram, of whom 83% said that they would like a referral for an examination. Touch-screen computerized health risk assessments are practical for collecting and monitoring valid cancer risk factor data for hospital outpatients.

KEY WORDS: computers, needs assessment, primary prevention, risk factors, patients.