142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Technology in Survey Data Collection: Cost-Effective Advances from Limited-Resource Settings

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vilma Ilic, MSW , International Center for Child Health & Asset Development, Columbia University, New York, NY
Fred Ssewamala, PhD , Director, International Center for Child Health & Asset Development, Columbia University, New York, NY
Isaac Sekitoleko , International Center for Child Health and Asset Development, Masaka, Uganda
In limited-resource settings, paper-based methods of survey data collection are standard, however, digital data collection is gaining ground in these settings, and has been employed in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Advantages of digital survey data collection include increased security, efficiency, and precision; safer transfer and storage; and decreased human error and labor. This method also has cost advantages compared to paper-based methods. For example, in a study conducted in Tanzania, use of digitized data collection methods resulted in nearly 75% cost savings, compared to paper-based methods (Thriemer et al., 2012). Similar findings were reported from other studies in Tanzania and Kenya using personal digital assistants (PDAs) compared to paper-based surveys (Ali et al., 2010; Were et al., 2010).

Data collection costs will be compared between two 5-year longitudinal cluster randomized controlled trials in Uganda with HIV/AIDS-infected and affected adolescent populations: Suubi+Adherence (PI: Ssewamala; 1R01HD074949-01); and Bridges to the Future (PI: Ssewamala; 1R01HD070727-01). Data collection costs using paper-based methods of the 736 HIV-positive adolescents in the Suubi+Adherence study will be compared to costs using computer assisted self-interviewing methods with an equally-sized sub-sample of the 1,410 total sample of HIV/AIDS-affected adolescents in the Bridges to the Future study.

Both studies take place in southern Uganda – a region facing scarcity and infrastructural challenges, analogous to rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Ssewamala and colleagues will demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of digital data collection compared to paper-based methods employed in previous and ongoing studies with a comparable demographic in the same study region.

The use of technology in survey data collection methods has implications for researchers and clinicians working in sub-Saharan Africa and other limited-resource settings with HIV/AIDS-affected adolescent populations.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate the costs and benefits of digital compared to manual field survey data collection methods in a limited-resource setting.

Keyword(s): Data Collection and Surveillance, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content because I am responsible for coordinating the data on the study to which the abstract pertains.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.