Implementing electronic data capture at a well-established health and demographic surveillance site in rural northern Malawi.


McLean, E; Dube, A; Saul, J; Branson, K; Luhanga, M; Mwiba, O; Kalobekamo, F; Geis, S; Crampin, AC; (2017) Implementing electronic data capture at a well-established health and demographic surveillance site in rural northern Malawi. Global health action, 10 (1). p. 1367162. ISSN 1654-9716 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2017.1367162

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Abstract

This article aims to assess multiple issues of resources, staffing, local opinion, data quality, cost, and security while transitioning to electronic data collection (EDC) at a long-running community research site in northern Malawi. Levels of missing and error fields, delay from data collection to availability, and average number of interviews per day were compared between EDC and paper in a complex, repeated annual household survey. Three focus groups with field and data staff with experience using both methods, and in-depth interviews with participants were carried out. Cost for each method were estimated and compared. Missing data was more common on paper questionnaires than on EDC, and a similar number were carried out per day. Fieldworkers generally preferred EDC, but data staff feared for their employment. Most respondents had no strong preference for a method. The cost of the paper system was estimated to be higher than using EDC. The existing infrastructure and technical expertise could be adapted to using EDC, but changes have an impact on data processing jobs as fewer, and better qualified staff are required. EDC is cost-effective, and, for a long-running site, may offer further savings, as devices can be used in multiple studies and perform several other functions. EDC is accepted by fieldworkers and respondents, has good levels of quality and timeliness, and security can be maintained. EDC is well-suited for use in a well-established research site using and developing existing infrastructure and expertise.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 28922071
Web of Science ID: 411765300001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4398697

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