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Objective: To determine if patients would answer a computerbased interview in the same way as they would answer a personal interview.

Methods: Two hundred consecutive patients in a private practice setting were asked a set of eleven questions relating to their general and gynecologic health. The question set included issues appropriate to a routine, periodic gynecologic history update. Each subject was asked the same question set twice, once by a personal interview and once by a computer. This was done in a crossover fashion. One-half of the subjects were interviewed by a person first; the other half used the computer first.

Results: Statistical evaluation demonstrated that patient responses are equivalent. The two methods agreed overall in 96% of the responses. Analysis of the discordant responses showed that in some cases, the computer may be more effective than the personal interview in identifying risk factors.

Conclusions: A computer-based questionnaire can generate responses that are equivalent to the responses to a traditional personal interview. In some cases, a computer may be more successful in eliciting risk factors. Further studies of the application of this technology for patient education and physician efficiency can now be carried out, knowing that subjects respond reproducibly to a computer interview format.

(C) 1995 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists