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Submitted by Bethany on

I was recently involved in an RCT where we placed a NGO research officer at each site to collect data using an android tablet and CommCare mobile data collection platform app. Since we were collecting case management data (week by week) this was the best mobile platform to ensure timeliness of entry and data quality--specifically, accurate linking of records. Although electronic data collection facilitated ‘automatic administrative records which could be shared quickly', it did NOT reduce the need for pen and paper registries in our context. Due to our relatively short time in the facilities (<10 months) the MoH patient forms and registers were not replaced; rather, there was somewhat of a duplicate system for paper and electronic data recording of patients' clinical data. However, the app enabled research officers to ask additional household and qualitative questions which could be automatically linked to the clinical data. I monitored several patient consultation and data recording (performed by MoH staff) and data collection (performed by research officers) interactions and generally feel that the research officer model was essential for the type of linked case management data collection we required. However, if your study does not involve detailed linking of patient data, it's reasonable to me that facility MoH staff could be recruited, trained, and incentivized for this task. A couple other things to keep in mind, mobile data collection requires building the application with a lot of quality checks (ex: max and min parameters) as well as testing with end users before rollout. Also, supervisors should have the technological knowhow to troubleshoot inevitable issues with data collectors.