Online Program

Mobile Technology for Improving Clinical Decision: A Comparative Assessment of its Usefulness for Clinical Nurses and Physicians

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Berhane Gebru, BSc; MSc, FHI 360, Watertown, MA
Health workers in the rural areas of South Africa have little access to clinical guidelines and public health information that are relevant for improving their practice. Treatment guidelines and other medical resources are provided to health facilities in hard copies. However, the number of copies provided are not sufficient for the number of health workers. Disseminating updates to remote health facilities requires an enormous effort and can take months; meanwhile health workers continue to use outdated guidelines until they receive updated materials. To overcome some of these challenges and provide better healthcare to their patients, 63 professional nurses and 62 physicians in the Eastern Cape are using the Mobile Health Information System (MHIS) that provides healthcare providers access to clinical and public health information at the point of care using commercially available smartphones and tablets. A study conducted in 2010 – 2013 to assess the outcomes of MHIS in improving clinical decision showed that all nurses and 80% of doctors reported making accurate diagnosis (p=.00014). All nurses and 79% of doctors reported improvements in managing the side effects of drugs (p=.00140). More nurses found the system useful for choosing correct laboratory tests than physicians (96% vs. 66%, p=.00354). More nurses reported making improved referral decisions than physicians (100% vs. 62%, p=.00004). Improvements in prescribing the correct treatment (100% nurses vs. 92% physicians, p=.07844) and prescribing the correct medication dosage (96% nurses vs. 82% physicians, p=.01871) did not differ significantly.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the challenges confronting the health workforce in sub-Saharan Africa and how establishing access to clinical and public health information at the point of care may lead to improved healthcare delivery. Identify the impacts establishing access to health information at the point of care in improving quality of healthcare delivery.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Health Care Delivery

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal and co-principal investigator of multiple research initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa. My research interests include enhancing the adaptive capacity of individuals and communities to the impacts of climate change; and the application of ICT tools for enhancing health outcomes.
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.