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The Case-finding and Help Assessment Tool (CHAT) is a validated self-administered lifestyle and mood assessment assessing problem drinking, smoking, other drug use, gambling, anxiety, depression, abuse, anger and physical inactivity. Herein we present development and initial acceptability assessment of an electronic version (eCHAT) for use by patients at the general practice immediately prior to consultation with their general practitioner (GP). The system is designed to allow patients to undertake the eCHAT interview using a touchscreen display and to then provide the assessment data to the GP through their Practice Management System (PMS) for follow-up discussion with the patient. After initial feedback and subsequent minor modifications in a laboratory setting, the tool was deployed consecutively to two general practices. Fifty-one consenting adult patients completed a feedback survey. In addition to the patient feedback, a focus group of GP users, developers and researchers identified further issues for refinement of the system. Initial issues included the challenge of achieving a simple and reliable user interface design for patients to identify themselves. Subsequent to modification for this, eCHAT is found to be usable and acceptable for patients in the GP setting. In response to the focus group feedback, the PMS display for use by the GP in consultation has been modified to provide summary as well as detailed information about the eCHAT results. Further research directions include a randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of eCHAT screening on overall quality-of-life, and development of Web and mobile interfaces.


Journal article


Health Care and Informatics Review Online

Publication Date





18 - 25