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Are native mobile apps better for data capture methods?

There's no point in doing data analysis if your data capture methods are difficult to use or take too long. Users run from applications that require cumbersome data entry.

According to John Roberge, a survey design expert, practitioners in fields like healthcare may need custom-built native mobile apps to gather data quickly and accurately at the "point of care," then return to their work. Web-based applications can create too much latency, he says, and stir up user frustration.

Roberge walked attendees through the development of his application for Medicaid cost reduction at New York University's children's dental health improvement program. Hygienists and dentists visit schools to treat children who receive Medicaid. They administer fluoride treatments, teeth cleanings and exams. But entering data on-site was problematic with Web-based applications, because it was too time-consuming. Latency of even less than a second can be too much of a hurdle for users, he said.

Roberge's application is designed to eliminate that delay. He designed a native mobile app to make it easy for these medical professionals to enter data quickly and return to their task in the workflow. Data can be entered in the moment, then synced back to a database in the cloud or on-premises for subsequent analysis.

Steve Weissman, a Holly Group analyst and president of AIIM's New England chapter, was on hand to analyze Roberge's talk.

"Analytics covers such a breadth of techniques and technologies," Weissman said. "The capture piece is critical because you have to get whatever data in that you're later going to analyze for some business purpose."

According to Weissman, good analysis has to start with good data capture methods. "Using the tools to capture data is where it all begins," he said.

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