An Android application for healthcare seekers to facilitate informed decision making: a case of general national referral hospitals in Uganda
Byanyima, Patrick Quarcoo
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Background: There is delayed health seeking by the health seekers to the general national referral hospitals and this may be due to lack of convenient adequate information about the health services offered by the facility. An online application can be used to bridge the gap by providing the information about health services offered 24/7 to facilitate informed decision making. The aim of the study was to develop an android application for healthcare seekers to facilitate decision making at general national referral hospitals; Kiruddu, Kawempe, Old Mulago and New Women`s and Neonatal hospitals. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study based on the Design Science Research approach and qualitative method were used for data collection. Document review was carried out to determine what services are offered by the different departments in each of the referral hospitals while interviews conducted with purposively selected administrators, healthcare workers and healthcare seekers. An inductive analysis was used to analyze the data collected to obtain the user requirements. Unified Modeling Language (UML) was used to design the models while agile methodology was used in development process. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to test usability/ functionality of the application. Results: In total 20 in-depth interviews were conducted, 50% of these were among healthcare workers and administrators and the rest were healthcare seekers. Thematic analysis came up with the following major themes for healthcare seekers; experience in accessing health services, information needs, ehealth solutions and features of the application. Hospital administrators and healthcare workers came up with the following themes; information sharing, modes of information sharing, solutions to information sharing, features of the application. The document review came up with the list of services offered by the different departments. The usability test responses indicated user satisfaction on the tested usability aspects of the application. Conclusion and Recommendations: The application will empower the healthcare seekers before visiting the general national referral hospitals however the hospital needs to update the application content more often. The application developed in English and for android devices hence need to consider other commonly spoken local languages and other operating systems.