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Perceptions of frontline staff regarding data collection methodologies used during the 2009 A H1N1 influenza immunization campaign in Canada

Julie Foisy1*, Susan Quach1, Christine L Heidebrecht1, Jennifer A Pereira1, Sherman D Quan2, Maryse Guay3456, Julie A Bettinger7, Shelley L Deeks18, Stephanie Brien9, Jeffrey C Kwong110118 and the Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) Vaccine Coverage Theme Group*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Toronto, Canada

2 University Health Network, Toronto, Canada

3 Département des sciences de la santé communautaire, Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil, Canada

4 Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Montréal, Canada

5 Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Montérégie, Longueuil, Canada

6 Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Charles LeMoyne, Longueuil, Canada

7 University of British Columbia, Vaccine Evaluation Center, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

8 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

9 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

10 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Canada

11 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:796  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-796

Published: 30 December 2010



During the 2009 H1N1 immunization campaign, electronic and hybrid (comprising both electronic and paper components) systems were employed to collect client-level vaccination data in clinics across Canada. Because different systems were used across the country, the 2009 immunization campaign offered an opportunity to study the usability of the various data collection methods.


A convenience sample of clinic staff working in public health agencies and hospitals in 9 provinces/territories across Canada completed a questionnaire in which they indicated their level of agreement with seven statements regarding the usability of the data collection system employed at their vaccination clinic. Questions included overall ease of use, effectiveness of the method utilized, efficiency at completing tasks, comfort using the method, ability to recover from mistakes, ease of learning the method and overall satisfaction with the method. A 5-point Likert-type scale was used to measure responses.


Most respondents (96%) were employed in sites run by public health. Respondents included 186 nurses and 114 administrative staff, among whom 90% and 47%, respectively, used a paper-based method for data collection. Approximately half the respondents had a year or less of experience with immunization-related tasks during seasonal influenza campaigns. Over 90% of all frontline staff found their data collection method easy to use, perceived it to be effective in helping them complete their tasks, felt quick and comfortable using the method, and found the method easy to learn, regardless of whether a hybrid or electronic system was used.


This study demonstrates that there may be a greater willingness of frontline immunization staff to adapt to new technologies than previously perceived by decision-makers. The public health community should recognize that usability may not be a barrier to implementing electronic methods for collecting individual-level immunization data.