Using Smartphones to Track Diseases Trims Time, Costs, Mistakes

stacks-o-paperWorking with the Kenya Ministry of Health, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated the potential for smartphone-based questionnaires to replace paper-based ones for gathering information about diseases.

The researchers found that, after initial setup, using smartphones was less costly than paper-based methods, and the data collected using smartphones had fewer errors.

Collecting data using smartphones has improved the quality of our data and given us a faster turnaround time to work with it. It also helped us save on the use of paper and other limited resources.”

— Henry Njuguna, M.D., sentinel surveillance coordinator, CDC Kenya

While some of the survey questions were mandatory, on 5 percent of the paper questionnaires some were omitted; however, only 3 percent of the smartphone surveys were incomplete. Duplicate patient ID numbers appeared in 7 paper-based questionnaires but in none of the smartphone-based surveys.

In addition, unlike the paper-based data, the smartphone data was uploaded to a database within hours rather than weeks.

Explore further at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/asfm-sma030912.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

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