The Aetiology of Neonatal Infection in South Asia (ANISA) study takes advantage of text messaging technology to record information required for randomizing the study population into a control subcohort. The text message system is also used for monitoring various study activities.Methods:
When a child-health worker registers a newborn in the study, she sends a text message to a database server containing the study identification number and newborn’s age at the time of registration. For each possible serious bacterial infection case, a study physician also sends a text message to the same server with the age of the young infant at the time of illness assessment. Using this information, a computer-based algorithm randomizes the newborn into a control subcohort. Text messages are also sent to alert the study physicians and study supervisors of a possible serious bacterial infection case being referred to health-care facilities. Phlebotomists working at remote specimen collection sites send text messages to the site laboratory personnel before sending the specimens through porters.Discussion:
Real-time data entry and monitoring are challenging for any population-based study conducted in remote areas. Our text messaging system provides an opportunity to overcome this barrier where availability of data entry facilities is limited.