Randomized, Cross-Over Evaluation of Mobile Phone vs Paper Diary in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Persistent Asthma

Eli O Meltzer*, 1, Norma Kelley2, Melbourne F Hovell2
1 Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA
2 Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

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© Meltzer et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, San Diego, CA 92123, USA; E-mail:


Diaries are frequently used to evaluate therapy. Forgetfulness, however, can lead to missed entries. With paper diaries, these missing entries can be backfilled, compromising the reasons for using a diary. Electronic diaries are a potential means of mitigating this limitation. The pilot study was conducted to evaluate use of a mobile phone diary. Twelve subjects with mild persistent asthma were randomly assigned to mobile or paper diary for 2 weeks and then crossed over to use the other diary type for next 2 weeks. Of the 12 subjects, 7 preferred the mobile diary. However, the mean prevalence of missing data was greater when using the mobile (18% ± 9%) compared to paper diary (9% ± 4%; P = 0.05). In conclusion, the mobile diary was preferred by slightly more subjects. The greater prevalence of missing data when using this diary most likely results from the inability to backfill missing entries.

Trial Registration: NCT00367263 (