Francesco Langella, Paolo Barletta, Alice Baroncini, Matteo Agarossi, Laura Scaramuzzo, Andrea Luca, Roberto Bassani, Giuseppe M. Peretti, Claudio Lamartina, Jorge H. Villafañe, Pedro Berjano

September 2021, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 2645 - 2653 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06834-z

First Online: 10 May 2021

Background and Purpose

Patient-Reported Measured Outcomes (PROMs) are essential to gain a full understanding of a patient’s condition, and in spine surgery, these questionnaires are of help when tailoring a surgical strategy. Electronic registries allow for a systematic collection and storage of PROMs, making them readily available for clinical and research purposes. This study aimed to investigate the reliability between the electronic and paper form of ODI (Oswestry Disability Index), SF-36 (Short Form Health Survey 36) and COMI-back (Core Outcome Measures Index for the back) questionnaires.


A prospective analysis was performed of ODI, SF-36 and COMI-back questionnaires collected in paper and electronic format in two patients’ groups: Pre-Operatively (PO) or at follow-up (FU). All patients, in both groups, completed the three questionnaires in paper and electronic form. The correlation between both methods was assessed with the Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC).


The data from 100 non-consecutive, volunteer patients with a mean age of 55.6 ± 15.0 years were analysed. For all of the three PROMs, the reliability between paper and electronic questionnaires results was excellent (ICC: ODI = 0.96; COMI = 0.98; SF36-MCS = 0.98; SF36-PCS = 0.98. For all p < 0.001).


This study proved an excellent reliability between the electronic and paper versions of ODI, SF-36 and COMI-back questionnaires collected using a spine registry. This validation paves the way for stronger widespread use of electronic PROMs. They offer numerous advantages in terms of accessibility, storage, and data analysis compared to paper questionnaires.

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