Evaluating the accuracy of data collection on mobile phones: A study of forms, SMS, and voice
INTRODUCTION Tuberculosis (TB) is a notifiable disease and health care providers are required to notify every TB case to local authorities. We conducted a pilot study to determine the usefulness and feasibility of mobile interface in TB notification (MITUN) voice based system for notification of TB cases by private medical practitioners. METHODOLOGY The study was conducted during September 2013 to October 2014 in three zones of Chennai, an urban setting in South India. Private clinics wherein services are provided by single private medical practitioners were approached. The steps involved in MITUN included: Registration of the practitioners and notification of TB cases by them through voice interactions. Pre and post-intervention questionnaires were administered to collect information on TB notification practices and feasibility of MITUN after an implementation period of 6 months. RESULTS A total of 266 private medical practitioners were approached for the study. Of them, 184 (69%) participated in the study; of whom 11 (6%) practitioners used MITUN for TB notification. Reasons for not using MITUN include lack of time, referral of patients to government facility, issues related to patient confidentiality and technical problems. Suggestions for making mobile phone based TB notification process user-friendly included reducing call duration, including only crucial questions and using missed call or SMS options. CONCLUSION The performance (feasibility and usefulness) of MITUN voice based system for TB notification in the present format was sub-optimal. Perceived problems, logistical and practical issues preclude scale-up of notification of TB by private practitioners.