Assessing the use of smartphones among health professionals in Ghana: A case study 37 Military Hospital
Background: Mobile phone has been one of the most technologically ubiquitous influences over the past decade. Mobile phone use has changed from a perceived item of luxury to an everyday necessity for many people. Given the widespread availability of mobile technology, there is increasing interest in the potential of interventions utilising these technologies to enhance medical treatment. Smartphones are therefore changing many industries, including the medical industry. Africa as a whole lags far behind compared to the richer regions of the world. Africa often have challenges in medical information, access to healthcare, treatment excellence and affordability. However, the speedy spread of mobile phones in so many of its countries is an extraordinary phenomenon, exclusively in the framework of their enormous economic and social challenges. Mobile technology is an example of such technologies that are readily available, accessible and affordable worldwide that can help African countries to solve their healthcare delivery challenges. This study explored and addressed the possible use of smartphones in providing basic health services in Ghana using health professionals at the 37 Military Hospital as a reference group. Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted involving 101 healthcare professionals at the 37 Military Hospital. The study used primary data, however, secondary data were also employed where necessary. Data was gathered by administering structured closed-ended questionnaires to respondents who were sampled using convenience sampling technique. Findings: It was found that all the participants owned and used their smartphones for health purposes. It was particularly found that majority of the participants used their smartphones to communicate with patients. Specifically, applications (like whatsapp, imo, viber) was the most used medium of communication by the nurses, SMS was the most used medium the doctors and pharmacist use to communicate with patients according to the result. The radiologist/laboratory technicians preferred communicating with patients through two or more of the listed options as provided in the questionnaire. The data also revealed that it is only the doctors who admitted that their smartphones helped them in the diagnosis of diseases although majority said otherwise. The study also revealed that majority of the health professionals searched for health information using search engines like google, medline and pubmed. Moreso, internet access problems was the major challenge health professionals at the 37 Military Hospital faced in using their smartphones for health purposes. Conclusion: The use of smartphones by health care professionals is rising in popularity especially in less financially advanced countries). The use of mobile technologies to support the achievement of health objectives (mHealth) has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery. The Government and health policy makers in Ghana can make use of the potentials of this technology in the health care delivery of Ghana.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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