Data quality and data accuracy are extremely important for any ETO database. In other posts, we have explored how to ensure data quality and ways to streamline data entry in ETO Touchpoints for front-end users. Some of these Touchpoint design tips are also important for those Administrators who have reporting access, as they can make reporting in ETO Results easier and more accurate. Some of the critical design tips that impact reports are described below.
1. Cross-reference fields
Cross-reference fields make data from your ETO database cleaner and clearer for reports.
The first image below displays data that isn’t cross-referenced.
In this example, the ETO Touchpoint contains client name and a text box where data entry users are required to manually type in the name of the school, however, an entry error has been made with the spelling of the school.
Although the participant is the same and the school is the same in both rows of data, ETO reports views this as two separate rows of unique data.
If other fields on this Touchpoint were manually typed in and errors were made, such as with the address of the participant, each difference would create yet another row for every unique combination.
These variances will result in your ETO reports being inaccurate as your counts of participants will be wrong and we don’t know which address is correct. It also increases the likelihood that you will receive error messages as you build the report.
You can use cross-reference fields in the Touchpoint to clean up your data and make it more accurate.
Using the same example, we can make the school an entity and use an Entity Cross Reference and Entity Attribute Cross Reference. These adjustments ensure that data is uniform in ETO Results. This scenario returns a report with a single row of data as opposed to the examples shown above.
This is much cleaner as we know the data is entered correctly and the count of the number of participants at Homeboy Elementary will be accurate.
Sometimes, but not always, it is helpful to create calculations in an ETO Touchpoint rather than creating the calculation in ETO Results.
Creating calculations directly in an ETO Touchpoint lets users see the calculation before they complete a record and improves data accuracy.
For example, if you want to record time spent with a participant, and you spent from 1:00pm to 2:00pm with them, it is easy for the user to accidentally enter 1:00am to 2:00pm, resulting in the duration field displaying thirteen hours. By using a duration element in the ETO Touchpoint that auto-calculates “time spent”, this error is able to be fixed immediately during data entry.
Furthermore, when time spent is brought into ETO Results, it must be converted to a number. While converting that data to a number isn’t impossible, pulling in the duration is much faster and is equally accurate, having already been verified by the user.
3. Completion Restrictions
Limiting the number of times an ETO Touchpoint can be taken for a single participant is helpful to reporting as well.
Let’s say a custom demographic Touchpoint has no restrictions and can be taken multiple times. For each new Touchpoint that a user creates, the user may only enter the data that has changed from the most recent version of the demographic Touchpoint. This means that the most recent Touchpoint may only have five out of twenty questions answered. When the ETO Results report writer pulls the most recent record, they will find an inaccurate and incomplete set of data.
Alternatively, if you limit the custom demographic Touchpoint completion restriction to one, the report writer will only pull that single record. You can also use the Remember Last Value setting in an ETO Touchpoint to carry forward the most recent data for that Touchpoint so the most recent Touchpoint is up to date. This streamlines ETO report writing significantly.
4. Date Taken Blank by Default
The “Date Taken Blank by Default” ETO Touchpoint setting is also critical for ETO Results.
Many ETO reports are filtered for a specific time frame, such as all Touchpoints completed in the last month. With the “Date Taken Blank by Default” setting, users are forced to enter the date of the service rather than the date they entered the record into ETO. Reports can then accurately calculate counts, create details on time, and list services provided for a time frame.
For example, let’s say a report is filtered to show contact hours between 1/1/16 and 31/1/16. If the date taken is auto-filled to the current date and the information is entered on 1/2/16 for the previous day’s contact, then the report wouldn’t include the hours for the 31/1/16, thus the report would be inaccurate.
Extra Tip – Keep questions in touchpoints short when building them!
While it doesn’t necessarily streamline or ensure accuracy for end users, long questions are problematic in ETO Results as the full question shows up as the name of the variable in Reports, making it difficult to work with it. Try to shorten questions wherever possible to no more than 7-10 words. If you need more than 10 words, add an instruction element with the full question and then add the appropriate element to the question as a summary.