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Comparison of Completion Rates for SF-36 Compared With SF-12 Quality of Life Surveys at a Tertiary Urban Wound Center

      Abstract

      Patient-reported outcome measures derived from quality of life instruments are an important tool in monitoring disease progression and treatment response. Although a number of validated instruments are available, the Short Form-36 (SF-36) quality of life survey is the most widely used. It is imperative that the patients answer all the questions in this instrument for appropriate analysis and interpretation. It has been hypothesized that fewer questions (i.e., the Short Form-12 [SF-12]), will result in greater survey completion rates. The present study was a randomized prospective study comparing the completion rates for the SF-36 and SF-12 quality of life surveys. Patients presenting with a chronic wound were asked to complete the SF-36 or SF-12 survey. After an a priori power analysis was performed, the completion rates, patterns of skipped questions, and demographic information were analyzed using t tests for continuous variables or Fisher's exact test for categorical variables and both multivariate linear regression and logistic regression. A total of 59 subjects (30 completed the SF-12 and 29 completed the SF-36) participated in the present study. The SF-12 group had an 80% (24 of 30) completion rate compared with a 55% (16 of 29) completion rate for the SF-36 group (p < .05). However, the length of the survey did not affect the completion rate nor was a statistically detectable pattern of skipped questions found. College graduates were more likely to complete both surveys compared with high school graduates (p < .07). Although it is unclear why, our study results indicate that the SF-12 yields a higher total survey completion rate. However, completion appears independent of the shorter survey length.

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