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Table 3 Summary of the advantages and disadvantages experienced using electronic data collection

From: Using electronic tablets for data collection for healthcare service and maternal health assessments in low resource settings: lessons learnt

  Advantages Disadvantages
Software • Automated validation and skip logic capacity • Time required to familiarise with new software
• Off-line data collection capacity • Specialist technical help required to develop script for uploading data to server in the UK
• Training required to design and manage forms
Hardware • Portability of electronic tablets Option to resize screen to enlarge text useful for data collection • Issues with shipping devices and customs clearance for international deployment
• Increased risk of theft of tablets compared to paper forms
Costs • Re-usability of electronic tablets following initial investment • Cost of electronic tablets and accessories (covers, chargers, etc)
• Cost of software
• Cost of external support for technical aspects (scripting)
Field -based Training • Data collectors enjoyed training and appreciated capacity building • Training required to use devices
• Training required to use software for data collection
Security • Data password protection on devices  
Processing and cleaning • Reduced need for processing and cleaning of data compared to paper forms • Time required for inbuilding validations and skip patterns in the tool at development stage