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What is a data system?

A data system is not just a data system. It's a continuous process of the reduction of errors in recording data and data entry, a detection of errors in the data, and a correction of sources of error.


Key aspects of getting data in

Data checks at recording and entry:

ID number validity:

  • Use ID's with check digits (Verhoeff or Luhn algorithm)

  • Decide how many digits you need- Add check digit (IE: 123-03-234)

  • Avoid using long combinations of letters of names or locations, as these may not protect confidentiality

Note that 2% incorrect ID's across 5 forms means you will have ~10% loss of data.

Getting your data in includes:

  • ​Double entry of linking variables

  • Range checks

  • Logical checks

  • Plausibility checks

Should you use an electronic-based data system?



  • Data are immediately entered

  • Less costly for large-scale collection

  • Centralized control of all aspects of form versions and changes

  • Enables advanced analytics for staff activity (ie: location, time stamps)



  • Initial investment is high

  • Greater expertise needed to design the system

  • More staff training is needed.

Consider Using the DMAIC Process to Enhance Project Implementation.

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