Smartphones Improve Kenyan Disease Surveillance

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | March 13, 2012

Smartphones show promise in disease surveillance in the developing world because it is faster, cheaper and more accurate than traditional paper survey methods to gather disease information after the initial set–up cost. Smartphone data was more reliable than paper, according to the findings of the Kenya Ministry of Health and researchers in Kenya for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Survey data collected with smartphones in the study had fewer errors and were more quickly available for analyses than data collected on paper. For example, smartphone data were uploaded into the database within eight hours of collection compared with an average of 24 days for paper-based data to be uploaded, in a study released March 12 by CDC.

"Collecting data using smartphones has improved the quality of our data and given us a faster turnaround time to work with it," said Dr. Henry Njuguna, sentinel surveillance coordinator at CDC Kenya, adding that it also helped save on paper and other limited resources...