Direct digital input avoids multistep manual entry from hard-copy documents into electronic platforms. This aims to limit data entry errors & improve efficiency. E-tool use in public health is increasing but often faces user resistance. We evaluated preferences for manual vs e-data collection among data collectors (DCs) at the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria.Method:
This was a crossover design study. Data collected was from assessments of comprehensive HIV service in primary healthcare facilities (HCF). DCs were trained on both manual and electronic (mobile app) methods. Upon assessing half of their assigned HCFs with one modality, DCs switched to the second entry method. After HCF assessment, a 22-item questionnaire was used to survey DC preferences. A user satisfaction score was calculated & variances in preference analyzed using Chi-square & multinominal logistic regression.Results:
A total of 168 HCFs in 3 states were assessed by 76 DCs. Randomization allotted 48.9% to app & 51.6% to paper. A total of 55 (72.3%) DCs responded. Mean age of respondents was 41.8 y; 51.9% had Masters/PhD, 42.6% had Bachelors' degrees and 3.7% had lower certification. Approximately 95% owned a smartphone but only 18.2% routinely managed digital databases. Overall, 50.0% of DCs preferred the app; 20.4% paper, 18.1% preferred both & 11.1% had no preference. Perception of ‘higher quality’ was 49.1% for app and 27.3% for paper. Ratings for user friendliness and speed of entry were similar for both methods. Preference for app was associated with post-secondary education (P = 0.009) but not age, gender or database experience. With a Net Promoter Score of 36, 50.9% of users were active promoters of e-entry, 34.5% were passive promoters, & detractors, 14.5%.Conclusions:
Mobile apps for HIV program data entry is feasible, acceptable & considered higher quality versus paper. User acceptability & dexterity should be assessed prior to its implementation for data collection.