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An Electronic Menstrual Cycle Calendar: Comparison of Data Quality With a Paper Version.

Johannes, Catherine B. PhD; Crawford, Sybil L. PhD; Woods, Judith BA; Goldstein, Robert B. PhD; Tran, Dinh BS; Mehrotra, Sandhya MS; Johnson, Kevin B. MD; Santoro, Nanette MD
Menopause: 2000
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Objectives: This pilot study compared a prototype electronic menstrual calendar on a handheld computer with a paper calendar for data quality and participants' perceptions.

Design: Twenty-three women completed identical information about menstrual bleeding and symptoms using paper and electronic calendars for 1 month each.

Results: Use of the paper calendar resulted in more missing data than the electronic calendar for bleeding characteristics (13% vs. 4%) and symptoms (35% vs. 4%). The electronic calendar's ability to log data entries revealed retrospective entry for 61% of the data. Total data entry and cleaning time was reduced by 81 % with the electronic calendar. Overall, participants preferred the electronic (70%) to the paper (22%) calendar.

Conclusions: Data quality with conventional paper calendars may be poorer than recognized. The data-logging feature, unique to the electronic calendar, is critical for assessing data quality. Electronic menstrual calendars can be useful data collection tools for research in women's health. (Menopause 2000;7:200-208. (C) 2000, The North American Menopause Society.)

(C)2000The North American Menopause Society