Experiences, Lessons, and Challenges With Adapting REDCap for COVID-19 Laboratory Data Management in a Resource-Limited Country: Descriptive Study.

Ndlovu K, Mauco KL, Makhura O, Hu R, Motlogelwa NP, Masizana A, Lo E, Mphoyakgosi T, Moyo S

JMIR Form Res 8 (-) e50897 [2024-04-16; online 2024-04-16]

The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges requiring timely health data sharing to inform accurate decision-making at national levels. In Botswana, we adapted and integrated the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) and the District Health Information System version 2 (DHIS2) platforms to support timely collection and reporting of COVID-19 cases. We focused on establishing an effective COVID-19 data flow at the national public health laboratory, being guided by the needs of health care professionals at the National Health Laboratory (NHL). This integration contributed to automated centralized reporting of COVID-19 results at the Ministry of Health (MOH). This paper reports the experiences, challenges, and lessons learned while designing, adapting, and implementing the REDCap and DHIS2 platforms to support COVID-19 data management at the NHL in Botswana. A participatory design approach was adopted to guide the design, customization, and implementation of the REDCap platform in support of COVID-19 data management at the NHL. Study participants included 29 NHL and 4 MOH personnel, and the study was conducted from March 2, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Participants' requirements for an ideal COVID-19 data management system were established. NVivo 11 software supported thematic analysis of the challenges and resolutions identified during this study. These were categorized according to the 4 themes of infrastructure, capacity development, platform constraints, and interoperability. Overall, REDCap supported the majority of perceived technical and nontechnical requirements for an ideal COVID-19 data management system at the NHL. Although some implementation challenges were identified, each had mitigation strategies such as procurement of mobile Internet routers, engagement of senior management to resolve conflicting policies, continuous REDCap training, and the development of a third-party web application to enhance REDCap's capabilities. Lessons learned informed next steps and further refinement of the REDCap platform. Implementation of REDCap at the NHL to streamline COVID-19 data collection and integration with the DHIS2 platform was feasible despite the urgency of implementation during the pandemic. By implementing the REDCap platform at the NHL, we demonstrated the possibility of achieving a centralized reporting system of COVID-19 cases, hence enabling timely and informed decision-making at a national level. Challenges faced presented lessons learned to inform sustainable implementation of digital health innovations in Botswana and similar resource-limited countries.

Category: Health

Category: Other

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38625736

DOI 10.2196/50897

Crossref 10.2196/50897

pii: v8i1e50897

Publications 9.5.0