PDA evaluates a community grant program in Hawai‘i that funds organizations throughout the state to provide in-person tobacco cessation services to priority populations. One component of the evaluation is for grantees to collect demographic and tobacco use data from participants when they enroll in the program, as well as data about the services provided every time participants receive tobacco cessation counseling. Initially, we used paper forms to collect data. We printed and mailed the forms to grantees as needed, and grantees mailed the completed forms back to us to be scanned and entered. An important part of the evaluation was tying participant demographics to the services they received, so labels with ID numbers needed to be put on the enrollment form and all corresponding forms about program use.
To streamline data collection processes, PDA built a secure application for data entry and reporting. Grantees can securely enter the data into the website via their grant-provided tablet or own computers. They also have the option of printing paper versions of the data collection forms from the website and entering the data into the website later. This allows grantees to select a data collection option that works best for them, as grantees work in a variety of settings. Each user is provided with a username and password, and grantees are only able to see their own organization’s data. The data is stored on PDA’s in-house server, allowing us to download the data at any time for analysis and reporting.
PDA’s web development team built a solution that enhanced our evaluation efforts, as well as streamlined data collection processes for our client.
Improved data quality for the evaluation. It is easier for grantees to follow the pre-programmed question skip patterns on the web-based forms than to follow the instructional question skip patterns on the paper forms. On the web-based form, we also have the option of requiring answers, which helps us get more complete data. The application allows grantees to see the data they entered after submitting it, so they can correct any errors.
Real-time data monitoring for grantees and funder. The website allows each grantee to monitor their data in real-time. The funder can also monitor the data for individual grantees or the entire grant program. We built automated reports which allow users to track key performance metrics. Reports can be filtered by timeframes such as the current grant year or entire grant period.
A more sustainable approach. While some grantees continue to use paper forms, switching to a web-based data collection process is a more environmentally-friendly data collection approach, which is important to PDA. Further, while creating the website was an initial investment, it saves on the ongoing costs of printing, mailing, and processing data collection forms.
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