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Smartphones more accurate, faster, cheaper for disease surveillance

Smartphones are showing promise in disease surveillance in the developing world. The Kenya Ministry of Health, along with researchers in Kenya for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that smartphone use was cheaper than traditional paper survey methods to gather disease information, after the initial set–up cost. Survey data collected with smartphones also in this study had fewer errors and were more quickly available for analyses than data collected on paper, according to a study presented today at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

Researchers compared survey data collection methods at four influenza surveillance sites in Kenya. At each site, surveillance officers identified patients with respiratory illness and administered a brief questionnaire that included demographic and clinical information. Some of the questionnaires were collected using traditional paper methods, and others were collected using HTC Touch Pro2 smartphones using a proprietary software program called the Field Adapted Survey Toolkit (FAST).
 
 

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