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Real-time monitoring of school absenteeism to enhance disease surveillance: a pilot study of a mobile electronic reporting system.

Lawpoolsri S, Khamsiriwatchara A, Liulark W, Taweeseneepitch K, Sangvichean A, Thongprarong W, Kaewkungwal J, Singhasivanon P - JMIR Mhealth Uhealth (2014)

Bottom Line: The timeliness of a reporting system is a critical function in any surveillance system.Web-based application and mobile technology can potentially enhance the use of school absenteeism data for syndromic surveillance and outbreak detection.This study presents the factors that determine the implementation success of this reporting system.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

ABSTRACT

Background: School absenteeism is a common source of data used in syndromic surveillance, which can eventually be used for early outbreak detection. However, the absenteeism reporting system in most schools, especially in developing countries, relies on a paper-based method that limits its use for disease surveillance or outbreak detection.

Objective: The objective of this study was to develop an electronic real-time reporting system on school absenteeism for syndromic surveillance.

Methods: An electronic (Web-based) school absenteeism reporting system was developed to embed it within the normal routine process of absenteeism reporting. This electronic system allowed teachers to update students' attendance status via mobile tablets. The data from all classes and schools were then automatically sent to a centralized database for further analysis and presentation, and for monitoring temporal and spatial patterns of absent students. In addition, the system also had a disease investigation module, which provided a link between absenteeism data from schools and local health centers, to investigate causes of fever among sick students.

Results: The electronic school absenteeism reporting system was implemented in 7 primary schools in Bangkok, Thailand, with total participation of approximately 5000 students. During May-October 2012 (first semester), the percentage of absentees varied between 1% and 10%. The peak of school absenteeism (sick leave) was observed between July and September 2012, which coincided with the peak of dengue cases in children aged 6-12 years being reported to the disease surveillance system.

Conclusions: The timeliness of a reporting system is a critical function in any surveillance system. Web-based application and mobile technology can potentially enhance the use of school absenteeism data for syndromic surveillance and outbreak detection. This study presents the factors that determine the implementation success of this reporting system.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Web page for entering data of the school absenteeism reporting system.
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figure4: Web page for entering data of the school absenteeism reporting system.

Mentions: To assist in the data entering process, tablet computers with Internet and phone connection were distributed to teachers. Teachers could update the school attendance status of the children in their classes immediately and the data were then automatically sent to a centralized database. The Web-based reporting system also provided the parent’s phone number, which allowed teachers to call parents directly from the tablets to ask for the reasons for school absenteeism (Figure 4). In addition, a standard school absenteeism summary form could be automatically generated. This summary form was designed to look like the existing form that is submitted to the Department of Education once a semester. With this Web-based reporting system, data on school absenteeism, including reasons for absence in the 7 schools would be updated to the centralized database on a real-time or near real-time basis. Authorized persons from the Department of Education and Department of Health could view these real-time data via the Web-based system (Figure 5). Informative statistics such as graphs of number and percent of school absentees were generated to present patterns of school absenteeism over specific periods. After implementation of this revised system, teachers were very satisfied with this system, because the system could potentially reduce their workload and they can appreciate the usefulness of the system.


Real-time monitoring of school absenteeism to enhance disease surveillance: a pilot study of a mobile electronic reporting system.

Lawpoolsri S, Khamsiriwatchara A, Liulark W, Taweeseneepitch K, Sangvichean A, Thongprarong W, Kaewkungwal J, Singhasivanon P - JMIR Mhealth Uhealth (2014)

Web page for entering data of the school absenteeism reporting system.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4114464&req=5

figure4: Web page for entering data of the school absenteeism reporting system.
Mentions: To assist in the data entering process, tablet computers with Internet and phone connection were distributed to teachers. Teachers could update the school attendance status of the children in their classes immediately and the data were then automatically sent to a centralized database. The Web-based reporting system also provided the parent’s phone number, which allowed teachers to call parents directly from the tablets to ask for the reasons for school absenteeism (Figure 4). In addition, a standard school absenteeism summary form could be automatically generated. This summary form was designed to look like the existing form that is submitted to the Department of Education once a semester. With this Web-based reporting system, data on school absenteeism, including reasons for absence in the 7 schools would be updated to the centralized database on a real-time or near real-time basis. Authorized persons from the Department of Education and Department of Health could view these real-time data via the Web-based system (Figure 5). Informative statistics such as graphs of number and percent of school absentees were generated to present patterns of school absenteeism over specific periods. After implementation of this revised system, teachers were very satisfied with this system, because the system could potentially reduce their workload and they can appreciate the usefulness of the system.

Bottom Line: The timeliness of a reporting system is a critical function in any surveillance system.Web-based application and mobile technology can potentially enhance the use of school absenteeism data for syndromic surveillance and outbreak detection.This study presents the factors that determine the implementation success of this reporting system.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

ABSTRACT

Background: School absenteeism is a common source of data used in syndromic surveillance, which can eventually be used for early outbreak detection. However, the absenteeism reporting system in most schools, especially in developing countries, relies on a paper-based method that limits its use for disease surveillance or outbreak detection.

Objective: The objective of this study was to develop an electronic real-time reporting system on school absenteeism for syndromic surveillance.

Methods: An electronic (Web-based) school absenteeism reporting system was developed to embed it within the normal routine process of absenteeism reporting. This electronic system allowed teachers to update students' attendance status via mobile tablets. The data from all classes and schools were then automatically sent to a centralized database for further analysis and presentation, and for monitoring temporal and spatial patterns of absent students. In addition, the system also had a disease investigation module, which provided a link between absenteeism data from schools and local health centers, to investigate causes of fever among sick students.

Results: The electronic school absenteeism reporting system was implemented in 7 primary schools in Bangkok, Thailand, with total participation of approximately 5000 students. During May-October 2012 (first semester), the percentage of absentees varied between 1% and 10%. The peak of school absenteeism (sick leave) was observed between July and September 2012, which coincided with the peak of dengue cases in children aged 6-12 years being reported to the disease surveillance system.

Conclusions: The timeliness of a reporting system is a critical function in any surveillance system. Web-based application and mobile technology can potentially enhance the use of school absenteeism data for syndromic surveillance and outbreak detection. This study presents the factors that determine the implementation success of this reporting system.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus