Open Access Open Badges Research article

A cross-sectional survey assessing the acceptability and feasibility of self-report electronic data collection about health risks from patients attending an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service

Natasha E Noble1*, Christine L Paul1, Mariko L Carey1, Robert W Sanson-Fisher1, Stephen V Blunden2, Jessica M Stewart3 and Katherine M Conigrave4

Author Affiliations

1 Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

2 Casino Aboriginal Medical Service, Casino, NSW, Australia

3 National Health Performance Authority, Level 9, Oxford St, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia

4 Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2014, 14:34  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-34

Published: 16 April 2014



Aboriginal Australians experience significantly worse health and a higher burden of chronic disease than non-Aboriginal Australians. Electronic self-report data collection is a systematic means of collecting data about health risk factors which could help to overcome screening barriers and assist in the provision of preventive health care. Yet this approach has not been tested in an Aboriginal health care setting. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the acceptability and feasibility of a health risk questionnaire administered on a touch screen laptop computer for patients attending an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS).


In 2012, consecutive adult patients attending an ACCHS in rural New South Wales, Australia, were asked to complete a health risk survey on a touch screen computer. Health risk factors assessed in the questionnaire included smoking status, body mass index, and level of physical activity. The questionnaire included visual cues to improve accuracy and minimise literacy barriers and was completed while participants were waiting for their appointment.


A total of 188 participants completed the questionnaire, with a consent rate of 71%. The mean time taken to complete the questionnaire was less than 12 minutes. Over 90% of participants agreed that: the questionnaire instructions were easy to follow; the touch screen computer was easy to use; they had enough privacy; the questions were easy to understand; they felt comfortable answering all the questions.


Results indicate that the use of a touch screen questionnaire to collect information from patients about health risk factors affecting Aboriginal Australians is feasible and acceptable in the ACCHS setting. This approach has potential to improve identification and management of at-risk individuals, therein providing significant opportunities to reduce the burden of disease among Aboriginal Australians.

Australia; Aboriginal; Touch screen questionnaire; Health risk factors; Screening