South Africa

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Projects
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Health Care
Mobile Health Information System: Providing Access to Information for Health Care Workers

In South Africa, where access to relevant health literature and broadband internet access is limited, nurses and doctors in the Eastern Cape are using 3G wireless technology to overcome access-to-information challenges and provide better care to their patients. With the help of the Mobile Health Information System (MHIS) — internet-capable, commercially available smartphones and tablets pre-loaded with a locally relevant, reliable clinical library — nurses and doctors can access much-needed information at the point of care. Now in the expansion phase, doctors in tertiary and district hospitals are equipped with tablets and nurses in rural community health centers continue to use smartphones for information access.


Impact

  • Based on a research study of MHIS project participants conducted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University/School of Clinical Care Sciences to investigate the impact that accessing health information at the point of care via mobile devices had on the clinical decision making practice of nurses and doctors in primary health care settings in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the below results, among others, were found.
  • The information obtained was used to make recommendations to the Eastern Cape Department of Health with regard to facilitating further expansion of the use of mobile devices in health care practices.
  • Of the surveyed nurses and doctors, being able to access health information at the point of care assisted:
    • All nurses and approximately 85 percent of doctors in making an accurate diagnosis
    • All nurses and more than 92 percent of doctors in prescribing the correct treatment for their patients
    • 96 percent of nurses and approximately 82 percent of doctors in prescribing the correct medication dosage
    • All nurses and approximately 81 percent of doctors in reducing patient mortality
  • Nurses and doctors used information in the mobile library to empower patients, provide correct and up-to-date information to patients regarding their health conditions and treatment, update their own knowledge regarding the management and treatment of various conditions and provide colleagues and peers with correct information upon request.