The primary objective of this project was to develop and validate the quick observation tools (QUOTS). During the pilot, some users proposed advanced delivery systems (e.g., online tools or device applications) for collecting and analyzing the data while others endorsed the simplicity and tactile use of printed copies. While advanced delivery mode development was beyond the scope of this project, this section proposes a few data gathering strategies and includes a partially-populated spreadsheet template you may download and use or modify accordingly.
Important Note: For the sake of simplicity, specific products or software are used as examples in this section. Their use should not, in any way, be interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the company or product(s) by neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP), nor the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc (APIC).
Data Gathering Strategy One: Print and Spreadsheet
The Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheet available for download includes 12 tabs (labeled T1-T12) for data entry of summary observations for 12 time periods (e.g., one per month) covering all 123 questions found on all 22 observation tools (see example here). Simply complete the total “Yes,” “No,” and “N/A” observed for a given time period (Columns E, F) for each tool/card used (Column A), enter the time period the data reflects (cell B1) and location observed (cell D1). Totals scores by question (Column I), card/tool (Column J), and for all observations in total (Row 126) are automatically tabulated. As you complete multiple time periods, the tab “Detailed Summary Report” is auto-populated with each time interval (T1-T12, columns E-P) for trend analysis and a total performance score (e.g., annualized year) is generated (Column Q). You do not need to answer all questions or use all the tools to generate a total score; it is based solely off of the data that you entered. With the Detailed Summary Report, you can easily generate simple graphs displaying performance improvement over the time period observed (Chart Example).
Please note: In T1 entirely and Question1 of Card 1 (Row 3) in T1-T12 is populated with simulated data to provide examples in the Detailed Summary Report and Chart Example. Be sure to clear the contents of the observed data only (Total Yes and Total No, Columns E and F) of T1-T12 before using.
Data Gathering Strategy Two: Scannable Forms and Database Population
If manual data entry needs to be avoided, one option to consider is the use of a standard form and processing application software for automated database data entry. All of the questions used in the tools are dichotomous or nominal, making the use of such software relatively easy. One example of such a forms processing application is TeleForm™ by Hewlett Packard
By incorporating the content of the observation tools into standardized forms, the observer can print, record, and deliver the completed paper forms to a central in-house location. There, the completed forms are scanned in and auto-populate a defined database effectively removing the need for manual data entry. The database can then be exported to common spreadsheet platforms (e.g., Microsoft Excel™) to create summary reports and graphs.
Data Gathering Strategy Three: The Online Survey
Online surveys have become increasingly popular in recent years. By being online, they can be accessed via a desktop computer, laptop, or any smartphone with web-browsing capabilities. These surveys ask respondents to answer questions and the data is summarized and analyzed. This same platform is easily transferable to observational data collection. Instead of polling an observer, the observer uses and records their observations into a standardized online form and the survey owner (e.g., QUOTS project manager) can download the raw data or, when available, use the online survey analysis features to create summaries and graphs.
One such online survey tool is SurveyMonkey™. An example of card/tool #1 (Central Catheter: Observation) is available to preview here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/86N3GZF (note: this is not an active survey, please don’t use this link to enter your own observations). Default analysis is available with this platform as shown below.
These are just some of the ways you can collect and analyze data from your observations using the content provided by this collaborative.