Smartphones could offer a lower-cost and more accurate way of collecting disease surveillance data in developing countries than traditional paper-based survey methods, according to a new CDC study, Modern Healthcare reports.
Researchers presented the findings during CDC's International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.
For the study, CDC researchers in Kenya compared data collection methods at four influenza surveillance sites. Surveillance officers at each location used both smartphones and paper surveys to administer questionnaires aimed at identifying patients with respiratory illness (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 3/12).
Researchers collected 1,019 paper questionnaires, as well as 1,019 smartphone surveys (CDC release, 3/12).
Researchers found that 5% of the paper-based surveys were incomplete, compared with 3% of the smartphone-based surveys. In addition, 4% of mandatory responses were left unanswered on paper-based questionnaires, while no mandatory responses were left unanswered on smartphone-based questionnaires.
The survey also found that seven paper-based questionnaires had duplicated patient identification numbers, while no smartphone-based surveys had duplication errors (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 3/13).
In addition, researchers found that the two-year cost for establishing and running a paper-based data collection system is about $61,830, while the two-year cost for establishing and running a smartphone-based survey system is about $45,546 (CDC release, 3/12).