Publication date: Nov 29, 2019
Vector-borne diseases are a public health problem in Colombia, where dengue virus infection is hyperendemic. The introduction of other arboviruses, such as chikungunya and Zika in the last three years, has aggravated the situation. Mobile health (mHealth) offers new strategies for strengthening health care and surveillance systems promoting the collection, delivery, and access of health information to professionals, researchers, and patients. Assessing mobile application performance has been a challenge in low- and middle-income countries due to the difficulty of implementing these technologies in different clinical settings. In this study, we evaluate the usability and acceptability of a mobile application, FeverDX, as a support tool in the management of patients with febrile syndrome and suspected arboviruses infection by general practitioners from Colombia.
A pilot implementation study was conducted to evaluate the usability and acceptability of FeverDX using the modified version of the Mobile Application Rating Scale (uMARS). The evaluation form included 25 questions regarding quantity and quality of information, engagement, functionality, aesthetics, impact, and acceptability by healthcare workers. Each item uses a 5-point scale (1-Inadequate, 2-Poor, 3-Acceptable, 4-Good, 5-Excellent). A global score was obtained for the evaluation form test by determining the median scores of each subsection. A descriptive statistical analysis of the data obtained was performed.
Between December 2016 and January 2017, a total of 20 general practitioners from the Emergency room and hospitalization areas evaluated FeverDX. Less than half (9/20) of the evaluators had a comprehensive knowledge of the Colombian Ministry of Health’s guidelines for the diagnosis and management of arboviruses, and evaluators partially (4/9) or completely (5/9) agreed that the content of the application follows the management guidelines. On uMARS scale, FeverDX excelled regarding impact (median 5; IQR = 5-5), functionality (median 5; IQR = 4.8-5), and information and scientific basis (median 4; IQR = 4-4). FeverDX scored well regarding user feedback (median 4; IQR = 4-4.5), design and aesthetics (median 4; IQR = 4-4.3), and subjective assessment of quality (median 4.5; IQR = 4.3-4.8).
FeverDX, a mobile application, is a novel mHealth strategy to strengthen care processes and facilitate the detection and reporting of notifiable surveillance diseases. It could improve adherence to clinical practice guidelines for the management and prevention of prevalent diseases as arboviruses in healthcare settings. Although this pilot study used a small sample size, FeverDx performed adequately in a simulated emergency consultation. Further implementation studies are needed to increase the reliability of mHealth technologies in different scenarios.
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