241780 Mobile clinical information dissemination to improve health care delivery in South Africa

Monday, October 31, 2011

Leela McCullough, EdD , AED-SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology, AED, Watertown, MA
Background South Africa suffers an acute shortage of nurses that exacts a heavy toll on the delivery of health care in the country. Clinical nurses frequently rely on outdated, inaccurate and unreliable knowledge to care for patients. Mobile technology has the potential to provide nurses point-of-care access to much-needed clinical information for improved patient care.

Objective/purpose The program was designed to build the capacity of fifty clinical nurses in three hospitals in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to use a mobile information resource to improve patient care in the Eastern Cape Province.

Methods The project was implemented from January 2009 February 2010. An initial needs assessment and final project evaluation were conducted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. A quantitative and descriptive survey using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted among the participants to assess the usefulness of the mobile clinical information resource. Direct observation exercises were also conducted with a randomly selected sample of nurses to assess their competence in using the smart phone. A three-tier user support model relying on local resources was developed.

Results Thirty seven nurses responded to the survey. 73% of nurses were aged 45-60 years and 68% had no basic computer training; 81% were satisfied with the training; 89% reported nursing practice was enhanced by accessing information at the point of care; 92% found it helpful to carry the device.

Discussion/conclusions A health informatics and technology-based information delivery system has the potential to provide nurses point-of-care access to much-needed, current clinical content for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients. The findings of the project can be replicated in other health settings, in rural, poor areas in particular. Mobile technology offers a cost effective method for creating access to information at the point of care resulting in improvements in the delivery of health care.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: Discuss the usefulness of mobile technology in helping nurses improve patient care Explain the pros and cons of introducing new health informatics technology to mature nurses with little or no computer training Identify other health settings in which mobile technology could be useful

Keywords: Information Technology, Health Information

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Director of Information Services, I was integrally involved in all steps of project planning, implementation, mobile devices and content conversion, and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.