Designing a Digital Health data collection platform for a National Health & Aging Survey in Sri Lanka

The CAPI Tool Development Team at the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) developed a data collection platform for the R4D-Sri Lanka (R4D-SL) project.

The R4D-SL project is conducting a cross-sectional national health survey, collecting data on the health status, risk factors, healthcare use, socio-economic factors and other characteristics of 10,000 adult Sri Lankans.

To date, epidemiological/health survey data collection in Sri Lanka has been predominantly paper based.The IHP challenged this norm and undertook to design, innovate and implement a complex electronic data collection platform, which includes a CAPI based survey tool, systems to collect medical examination and laboratory data, and a BiobankLab Management System. This stem is designed to facilitate data linkage across the various study components and longitudinal data collection including participant follow up and re-survey. The system also includes a household mapping and participant barcoding system to enable followup of dwellings and participants. The system is also designed to collect health information in a secure and safe manner, and follows state of the art data security principles in medical data collection.

Tailor made icons were developed for this tool for the ease of recognition and use by the interviewers. A snapshot is given below.

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The data collection tool, using the iFormBuilder platform, has been designed to be user friendly to the interviewers and interviewees. The system was optimized over two years using a systematic process of literature review, application design review, analysis of interviewer and interviewee behaviours, and assessment of different data capture strategies for efficiency and accuracy. Several iterations of design were discussed,co-created with the main investigator team and tested within various communities in Sri Lanka.

The IHP CAPI Tool Development Team is headed by Dr Ravindra Rannan-Eliya, and includes a team of medical doctors, public health, pharmaceutical, behavioural health researchers and statisticians.

The CAPI Tool Development Team left to right is Dulanjaya Lakshan, Pubudika Lakshani, Darshee Dayawansa, Cheroni Pullenayegam, Nilmini Wijemanne, Nilushka Perera, Nishani Gunewardana, Sachini Fonseka, Upeka Samarakoon, Ravindra Ranna-Eliya. 

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