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Do surveys with paper and electronic devices differ in quality and cost? Experience from the Rufiji Health and demographic surveillance system in Tanzania

Mukasa, Oscar and Mushi, Hildegalda P. and Maire, Nicolas and Ross, Amanda and de Savigny, Don. (2017) Do surveys with paper and electronic devices differ in quality and cost? Experience from the Rufiji Health and demographic surveillance system in Tanzania. Global health action, 10. p. 1387984.

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Abstract

Data entry at the point of collection using mobile electronic devices may make data-handling processes more efficient and cost-effective, but there is little literature to document and quantify gains, especially for longitudinal surveillance systems.; To examine the potential of mobile electronic devices compared with paper-based tools in health data collection.; Using data from 961 households from the Rufiji Household and Demographic Survey in Tanzania, the quality and costs of data collected on paper forms and electronic devices were compared. We also documented, using qualitative approaches, field workers, whom we called 'enumerators', and households' members on the use of both methods. Existing administrative records were combined with logistics expenditure measured directly from comparison households to approximate annual costs per 1,000 households surveyed.; Errors were detected in 17% (166) of households for the paper records and 2% (15) for the electronic records (p < 0.001). There were differences in the types of errors (p = 0.03). Of the errors occurring, a higher proportion were due to accuracy in paper surveys (79%, 95% CI: 72%, 86%) compared with electronic surveys (58%, 95% CI: 29%, 87%). Errors in electronic surveys were more likely to be related to completeness (32%, 95% CI 12%, 56%) than in paper surveys (11%, 95% CI: 7%, 17%).The median duration of the interviews ('enumeration'), per household was 9.4 minutes (90% central range 6.4, 12.2) for paper and 8.3 (6.1, 12.0) for electronic surveys (p = 0.001). Surveys using electronic tools, compared with paper-based tools, were less costly by 28% for recurrent and 19% for total costs. Although there were technical problems with electronic devices, there was good acceptance of both methods by enumerators and members of the community.; Our findings support the use of mobile electronic devices for large-scale longitudinal surveys in resource-limited settings.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Household Economics and Health Systems Research > Health Systems and Policies (Tediosi)
UniBasel Contributors:Mukasa, Oscar Rwegasila and Maire, Nicolas and de Savigny, Donald
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Open
ISSN:1654-9716
e-ISSN:1654-9880
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:19
Deposited On:08 Dec 2017 10:19

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