Validation of 4D components for measuring quality of the public health data collection process: Elicitation study

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Journal of Medical Internet Research


Background: Identification of the essential components of the quality of the data collection process is the starting point for designing effective data quality management strategies for public health information systems. An inductive analysis of the global literature on the quality of the public health data collection process has led to the formation of a preliminary 4D component framework, that is, data collection management, data collection personnel, data collection system, and data collection environment. It is necessary to empirically validate the framework for its use in future research and practice. Objective: This study aims to obtain empirical evidence to confirm the components of the framework and, if needed, to further develop this framework. Methods: Expert elicitation was used to evaluate the preliminary framework in the context of the Chinese National HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Response Information Management System. The research processes included the development of an interview guide and data collection form, data collection, and analysis. A total of 3 public health administrators, 15 public health workers, and 10 health care practitioners participated in the elicitation session. A framework qualitative data analysis approach and a quantitative comparative analysis were followed to elicit themes from the interview transcripts and to map them to the elements of the preliminary 4D framework. Results: A total of 302 codes were extracted from interview transcripts. After iterative and recursive comparison, classification, and mapping, 46 new indicators emerged; 24.8% (37/149) of the original indicators were deleted because of a lack of evidence support and another 28.2% (42/149) were merged. The validated 4D component framework consists of 116 indicators (82 facilitators and 34 barriers). The first component, data collection management, includes data collection protocols and quality assurance. It was measured by 41 indicators, decreased from the original 49% (73/149) to 35.3% (41/116). The second component, data collection environment, was measured by 37 indicators, increased from the original 13.4% (20/149) to 31.9% (37/116). It comprised leadership, training, funding, organizational policy, high-level management support, and collaboration among parallel organizations. The third component, data collection personnel, includes the perception of data collection, skills and competence, communication, and staffing patterns. There was no change in the proportion for data collection personnel (19.5% vs 19.0%), although the number of its indicators was reduced from 29 to 22. The fourth component, the data collection system, was measured using 16 indicators, with a slight decrease in percentage points from 18.1% (27/149) to 13.8% (16/116). It comprised functions, system integration, technical support, and data collection devices. Conclusions: This expert elicitation study validated and improved the 4D framework. The framework can be useful in developing a questionnaire survey instrument for measuring the quality of the public health data collection process after validation of psychometric properties and item reduction.

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