SHORT REPORT: PILOTING PAPERLESS DATA ENTRY FOR CLINICAL RESEARCH IN AFRICA

MICHEL A. MISSINOU Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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CHRISTOPHER H. O. OLOLA Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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SAADOU ISSIFOU Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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PIERRE-BLAISE MATSIEGUI Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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AYOLA A. ADEGNIKA Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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STEFFEN BORRMANN Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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DAVID WYPIJ Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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TERRIE E. TAYLOR Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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PETER G. KREMSNER Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Clinical Research Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Blantyre Malaria Project, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi; Department of Internal Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

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Direct data entry, using handheld computers, may simplify and streamline data management, especially in remote settings. We compared the accuracy of data entry using the current standard practice (a paper-based case report form with double data entry) with that using a personal digital assistant (PDA) in a clinical study in rural Gabon. The rate of discrepant entries was 1.7%. Categorical data (presented in “pull down” menus on the PDA) were more commonly discrepant than were continuous “typed in” data (2.4% versus 1.2%; P = 0.001). Both systems functioned smoothly and no data were lost. The clinicians involved in this study preferred the handheld computers, and their use will be considered in future studies in an African clinical research network.

Author Notes

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    Forster D, Behrens RH, Campbell H, Byass P, 1991. Evaluation of a computerized field data collection system for health surveys. Bull World Health Organ 69 :107–111.

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