Front-end users generally complete data entry in ETO as a part of their interactions with program participants, so ETO must integrate seamlessly with their daily tasks. If data entry is having an impact on daily workflow, it can create friction for users, decrease usability, and reduce data quality.
In this case, you may need to streamline your ETO database by subtracting or minimising unnecessary data entry requirements (or in some cases adding data entry when certain data is missing, although this is less likely), and only including those data entry fields, objects and forms that are critical to your ETO reporting. You can also use specific ETO technical features to streamline your data entry, such as data entry logic, workflows, and requirements.
This post outlines 5 indicators that signal a need to streamline your ETO software. These indicators suggest that your ETO database may be too complex, overbuilt, or an impediment to frontline users.
1. Not able to report easily
If you are unable to report on needed data and metrics, then this is one reason to streamline your ETO database. ETO reports are driven by the structure of data entry, so your data entry should be simpler, leaner in order to make report building easier and minimise reporting challenges.
2. Negative feedback from users
If you are receiving negative feedback from users that data entry is burdensome, such as, it takes “too many clicks” to complete a task, then your ETO data structure may be too complex. Streamlining data entry by combining forms, minimizing fields, using data entry logic, and constructing dependent workflows are ways to simplify your ETO database for data entry users.
3. Similar data entry across different programs
Another reason to streamline data entry in your ETO database is when similar services and associated data entry tasks are captured in different programs. Duplicate data entry screens aren’t efficient for users and also impacts ETO reporting. You may therefore consider combining similar data entry objects, fields, and forms across programs to solve this issue. Then, when it comes to reporting, instead of pulling data from multiple locations in ETO, you can pull the data from a single location.
4. Missing data or data isn’t tracked
Streamlining ETO software doesn’t always mean removing fields or data entry structure. You may need to add data entry requirements because you have missing data entry or incorrectly formatted data entry screens, which can be just as burdensome to users. These users will get frustrated when important pieces of data entry are missing.
5. Don’t know where to start, recent staff turnover
Sometimes ETO software is so overbuilt and so complex that new ETO administrators who inherit a database don’t know where to start. This can also occur with existing ETO administrators who have seen the structure of their ETO database change and expand with any quality assurance over long periods of time. Streamlining your ETO databse will reset and refresh the database to a solid foundation and familiarize the new ETO administrator with the database structure.
The benefits of streamlining your ETO software
ETO software is powerful and robust, but its size can lead to it being overbuilt or structured in a way that doesn’t facilitate data entry and reporting. The goal of ETO is always to save users time so they can spend more time with participants and less time on paperwork. So, if you are encountering the above issues, you may need to streamline your database.
Streamlining your ETO database improves user workflows and enhances the ETO user experience, which leads to happier users, a cleaner and healthier database, and releases stress and pressure on your ETO administrator. Streamlining minimizes and simplifies data entry where possible and encourages users to actually “use” the database.
So, instead of tracking data just for the sake of tracking data, you should have a purpose for all data collected in ETO, otherwise remove the data altogether. You can use the following simple principle to assess whether data helps or hinders your streamlining initiative:
If the data is used in reports, keep it. If the data isn’t used in reports, remove it or define a specific reason why that data should remain.