I work for a research organization in India and have recently taken up with a program extending immunizations among poor rural communities. They're a fairly large organization but don't really have any IT infrastructure. Data reports on vaccine coverage, logistical questions, meeting attendance etc. come from hundreds of villages, go from pen-and-paper through several iterations of data entry and compilation, finally arriving each month at the central office as HUNDREDS of messy Excel sheets. The organization generally needs nothing more than simple totals and proportions from a large series of indicators, but doctors and high-level professionals are left spending days summing the sheets by hand, introducing lots of error and generally wasting a ton of time. I threw in some formulas and at least automated the process within single sheets, but the compilation and cross-referencing is still an issue.
There's not much to be done at the point of data collection...obviously it would be great to implement some system at the point of entry, but that would involve training hundreds of officials and local health workers; not practical at the moment.
My question: what can be done with the stack of excel sheets every month so we can analyze individually and also holistically? Is there any type of management app. or simple database we can build to upload and compile the data for easy analysis in R or even (gasp) excel? What kind of tools could I implement and then pass on to some relative technophobes? Can we house it all online?
I'm by no means a programmer but I'm an epidemiologist/stats analyst proficient in R and Google products and the general tools of a not-so-tech-averse millenial. I'd be into using this as an opportunity for learning some mySQL or similar, but need some guidance. Any ideas are appreciated...there has to be a better way!