Utilisation of health information at St Stephens Hospital Mpererwe Kampala Uganda, challenges and prospects
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This study was about the challenges and prospects of health information utilization in St Stephens Hospital Mpererwe. The aim of the study was to examine health information utilization and determine the challenges and prospects of health information utilization by the clients of St. Stephens Hospital Mpererwe. The study set out to analyze personal health information needs of the patients in the contexts in which they occur at St. Stephens Hospital, examine the health information seeking and utilization behaviors of the patients of St. Stephens Hospital Mpererwe, propose possible strategies that can be adopted to enhance utilization of health information by the patients and examine key patient preferences related to ease of usage. The target population of the study was 1178 clients and a sample size of 299 clients was calculated out of the target population. The study used a mixed methods research approach to enable collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. The study was descriptive, and it adopted a qualitative and quantitative approach to help investigate the quality of information within and collected in the Hospital, its use and the views of the respondents. The data collection methods used included questionnaire and interview. The questionnaire method was used to allow honest responses to be collected using the questionnaires and allow anonymity. For interviews face-to-face approach enabled capturing of nonverbal messages revealed through body languages. Findings show that most clients require daily life information like maintaining health lives with malaria being the most needed and Tuberculosis being second needed hence these still poses the greatest threat to human life. The respondents further showed their interest in information to be provided in local languages and with illustrations to meet their health information needs effectively and efficiently. Findings further show that clients do not only need, seek, and utilise health information when they are sick or when someone they know is sick but will always need health information. Findings further reveal that clients preferred doctors/ health care professionals as a very important and reliable source of health information implying, they would visit more the Hospital in search for health information for improved health living standards. Basing on the findings therefore, it was concluded that St Stephens Hospital Mpererwe still lacks efficient and effective health information services to meet the health information needs of their clients and the community at large. Relevant health information resources are lacking with no reading materials especially in the waiting line. In addition, facilities such as reading room or information centre are not in place and this affects the information seeking behaviours of the clients and hinders health information utilisation. This implies that the establishment of an information / Resource centre where health information materials can be gathered and accessed by users and employment of health information personnel will improve on the utilisation of health information within the Hospital. The study recommended possible strategies that can be adopted to enhance access and utilisation of health information by patients through government intervention, sensitization, strengthening health information resource sharing, among others.