Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Hybrid data capture for monitoring patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in urban Botswana

Hermann Bussmann, C William Wester, Ndwapi Ndwapi, Chris Vanderwarker, Tendani Gaolathe, Geoffrey Tirelo, Ava Avalos, Howard Moffat, & Richard G Marlink


Individual patient care and programme evaluation are pivotal for the success of antiretroviral treatment programmes in resource-limited countries. While computer-aided documentation and data storage are indispensable for any large programme, several important issues need to be addressed including which data are to be collected, who collects it and how it is entered into an electronic database. We describe a patient-monitoring approach, which uses patient encounter forms (in hybrid paper + electronic format) based on optical character recognition, piloted at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana’s first public highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) outpatient clinic. Our novel data capture approach collects “key” data for tracking patient and programme outcomes. It saves physician time and does not detract from clinical care.