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Open Access Research article

Human resource requirements for quality-assured electronic data capture of the tuberculosis case register

Nguyen B Hoa1*, Chay Sokun2, Chen Wei3, Jens M Lauritsen45 and Hans L Rieder67

Author Affiliations

1 National Tuberculosis Programme Viet Nam, 463 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Badinh District, Hanoi, Viet Nam

2 National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

3 National Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, Beijing, China

4 University of Southern Denmark, Institute of Public Health, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

5 EpiData Association, Enghavevej 34, DK-5230 Odense, Denmark

6 Department of Tuberculosis, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 68 blvd Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France

7 Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zürich, Hirschengraben 84 CH-8001, Zürich, Switzerland

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:75  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-75

Published: 27 January 2012



The tuberculosis case register is the data source for the reports submitted by basic management units to the national tuberculosis program. Our objective was to measure the data entry time required to complete and double-enter one record, and to estimate the time for the correction of errors in the captured information from tuberculosis case registers in Cambodia and Viet Nam. This should assist in quantifying the additional requirements in human resources for national programs moving towards electronic recording and reporting.


Data from a representative sample of tuberculosis case registers from Cambodia and Viet Nam were double-entered and discordances resolved by rechecking the original case register. Computer-generated data entry time recorded the time elapsed between opening of a new record and saving it to disk.


The dataset comprised 22,732 double-entered records of 11,366 patients (37.1% from Cambodia and 62.9% from Viet Nam). The mean data entry times per record were 97.5 (95% CI: 96.2-98.8) and 66.2 (95% CI: 59.5-73.0) seconds with medians of 90 and 31 s respectively in Cambodia and in Viet Nam. The percentage of records with an error was 6.0% and 39.0% respectively in Cambodia and Viet Nam. Data entry time was inversely associated with error frequency. We estimate that approximately 118-person-hours were required to produce 1,000 validated records.


This study quantifies differences between two countries for data entry time for the tuberculosis case register and frequencies of data entry errors and suggests that higher data entry speed is partially offset by requiring revisiting more records for corrections.

Tuberculosis; Data entry time; Recording and reporting; Data quality; Surveillance; Electronic data