Comparing Single-Page, Multipage, and Conversational Digital Forms in Health Care: Usability Study

Aleeha Iftikhar, RR Bond, V. E. McGilligan, Stephen James Leslie, Charles Knoery, Anne McShane, Ciara Quigg, Ryan Campbell, Kyle Boyd, Khaled Rjoob, Aaron Peace

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Background: Even in the era of digital technology, several hospitals still rely on paper-based forms for data entry for patient admission, triage, drug prescriptions, and procedures. Paper-based forms can be quick and convenient to complete but often at the expense of data quality, completeness, sustainability, and automated data analytics. Digital forms can improve data quality by assisting the user when deciding on the appropriate response to certain data inputs (eg, classifying symptoms). Greater data quality via digital form completion not only helps with auditing, service improvement, and patient record keeping but also helps with novel data science and machine learning research. Although digital forms are becoming more prevalent in health care, there is a lack of empirical best practices and guidelines for their design. The study-based hospital had a definite plan to abolish the paper form; hence, it was not necessary to compare the digital forms with the paper form. Objective: This study aims to assess the usability of three different interactive forms: a single-page digital form (in which all data input is required on one web page), a multipage digital form, and a conversational digital form (a chatbot). Methods: The three digital forms were developed as candidates to replace the current paper-based form used to record patient referrals to an interventional cardiology department (Cath-Lab) at Altnagelvin Hospital. We recorded usability data in a counterbalanced usability test (60 usability tests: 20 subjects×3 form usability tests). The usability data included task completion times, System Usability Scale (SUS) scores, User Experience Questionnaire data, and data from a postexperiment questionnaire. Results: We found that the single-page form outperformed the other two digital forms in almost all usability metrics. The mean SUS score for the single-page form was 76 (SD 15.8; P=.01) when compared with the multipage form, which had a mean score of 67 (SD 17), and the conversational form attained the lowest scores in usability testing and was the least preferred choice of users, with a mean score of 57 (SD 24). An SUS score of >68 was considered above average. The single-page form achieved the least task completion time compared with the other two digital form styles. Conclusions: In conclusion, the digital single-page form outperformed the other two forms in almost all usability metrics; it had the least task completion time compared with those of the other two digital forms. Moreover, on answering the open-ended question from the final customized postexperiment questionnaire, the single-page form was the preferred choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25787
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 26 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. The views and opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the Special EU Programmes Body.

Publisher Copyright:
©Aleeha Iftikhar, Raymond R Bond, Victoria McGilligan, Stephen J Leslie, Khaled Rjoob, Charles Knoery, Ciara Quigg, Ryan Campbell, Kyle Boyd, Anne McShane, Aaron Peace.


  • digital forms
  • healthcare
  • usability evaluation
  • single-page form
  • multi-page form
  • conversational forms
  • Health care
  • Single-page form
  • Conversational forms
  • Multipage form
  • Digital forms
  • Usability evaluation


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