Adoption of Mobile health devices by doctors in South Africa

Improved technology is important for making life easy and simple. But some sections and small practices may not have enough funds to support new technical systems. Luckily, the growth of mobile devices has created an effective ways and platforms in reducing the barriers to access technology. The use of mobile devices in health has become common to professionals and patients. It is believed that mobile health has given so much support with the new tools for personal health(Solanas et al., 2014).

Mobile health devices which are also known as m-health, are defined as the wireless technology that is being used and practiced through the use of technical applications and network devices in the favor of producing medical data and services, these mobile devices includes the use of mobile phones (smartphones), tablets, computers (laptops, desktops), and smart devices such as watches(Hamel, Cortez, Cohen, & Kesselheim, 2014; Memon, Wagner, Pedersen, Beevi, & Hansen, 2014; Silva, Rodrigues, de la Torre Díez, López-Coronado, & Saleem, 2015).

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More than 40% of African doctors have now engaged themselves into the use of mobile applications which is found to be increasing each year(Wallis, Blessing, Dalwai, & Shin, 2017). M-health has provided a better ways for doctors to keep track of their patients, also, some doctors use m-health for many purposes. M-health has created a better ways for managing time and managing the information, improved maintenance of health record for patients, easy way of collecting information to patients, monitoring, educations and training(Bert, Giacometti, Gualano, & Siliquini, 2014; Islam, Kwak, Kabir, Hossain, & Kwak, 2015).

According to Chib, van Velthoven, and Car (2015), his research states that 25% of professionals in South Africa are already using mobile applications with their patients and that has made a big improvement for data collection and keeping track to their patients. It is believed that the expansion of mobile devices in medical practices is still increasing in both doctors and patients, however the research that was done by (Baig, GholamHosseini, & Connolly, 2015); Greiner (2015) stated that some people still needs to adapt in the use of smartphones for medical assistance.

Background of the study: Mobile devices are no longer used for phone calls but they have been upgraded from just sending voice calls but they have become “smart”(Bar, Weber, & Pisani, 2016). The history of smartphones began from the Personal Digitals Assistant (PDAs), and then after PDAs were introduced and used, then smartphones, mobile telephones and tablets were introduced after (Ali, Chew, & Yap, 2016). Smartphones have the computer functionalities; it allows the software application and internet to run in the phone. One of the major characteristics of the smartphones are applications “abbreviated as apps” that are being used in the phone for difference purposes. An application is defined as any specific software program that assists the user to perform the desired task in the phone for example, the user can user window media player for music, videos and pictures(Laing et al., 2014).about 89% of mobile users, including big companies, neutral users, Government departments, sports, schools and libraries depends on mobile applications for their daily tasks.

Today, there are billions of mobile applications that are used for different purpose. About 500 million users in the world have installed the m-health mobile application for their health. Both Doctors and Patients are shifting to mobile health devices due to its reasonable costs, ease of use and ease of management(Okazaki, Castañeda, Sanz, & Mukherji, 2017; van der Heijden, Velikova, & Lucas, 2015).

Problem Statement: m-health system is a powerful instrument for doctors and patients to gain access to new technologies, also, improving the work performance with technical devices and to assist in activities for the doctors and patients (Barroca, Aquino, & Lima, 2017; Ryan, Yoder, Flores, Soh, & Vanderbilt, 2016). However, the issues with m-health which were identified in the previous research have decreased the value and the trust between doctors and patients. The issue of managing the devices by doctors as one of the big problems because it was found that some doctors lack to manage the data of the patient, ending up exposing sensitive information of the patient, This led to many threats to the data such as security problems, data management and communications (trust) between doctors and patients to keep track of records(Filkins et al., 2016; Plachkinova, Andrés, & Chatterjee, 2015).Therefore, this research focuses on the implementation of m-health and how the doctors and patients adopt the use of m-health in South Africa. In Addition, the research try to contribute in outlining the issues that South African health professionals come across during the implementation of m-health together with examining the availability and performance of devices and applications that are being used by doctors and patients. Adoption of m-health is also examined to identify the challenges that professional doctors and patients face when they are using m-health and the improved ways and solutions are investigated and tested for contribution in the existing solutions.

Research Questions: The purpose of the research is to identify the factors that will contribute/add to the existing implementations of m-health; these factors will be identified by studying a number of current and previous implementations of m-health to the doctors and patients around South Africa. Some factors have been identified as a successful implementation in the m-health, however, the usefulness of these factors are still low in the patients, due to lack of understanding, usability, cost, managerial and implementation of m-health. The proposed questions which are going to assist in the research are drawn as follows:

·         What is the present doctors’ information of the use of m-health application?

·         What are the factors that influences the adoption of m-health by the doctors?

·         How do these factors affect the adoption of m-health?

·         What are the impediments towards the adoption of m-health application by doctors?

·         Is the theorized model used in the research suitable for adoption of m-health by doctors and patients?

 

Objectives of the study

·         To investigate the present doctors’ information of the use of m-health application.

·         To investigate the factors that influences the adoption of m-health by the professionals.

·         To investigate the impediments towards the adoption of m-health application by doctors.

·         To bring forward theorized model used in the research suitable for adoption of m-health by doctors and patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Review

Introduction

Based on the above topic discussed, the following chapter discusses more about how the mobile applications are adopted in the professional doctors. This chapter looks at different sectors in the professionals to adopt the use of mobile applications and the suitable devices that are currently used by doctors, the researcher will also investigate about the barriers that occurs during the adoption of m-health. Also, the researcher will research about the successful apps that are useful to the doctors and patients, if there are unsuccessful apps, the researcher will also look at those apps and the causes of not being successful. Also this chapter is going to look at the theoretical framework that is going to be applied for the data analysis and the explanation of that theoretical framework. The researcher will investigate using the mini topics that will shape the research to obtain the clear understanding of the study, these mini topics will include Mobile healthcare,

Mobile Healthcare

The growth of smartphones played an important role in the growth and expansion of m-health. Many mobile activities are put into practice now and their use is also increasing(Hamidi & Moradi, 2017). It was discovered that professionals and organizations from more than 50 countries have successfully adopted the use of m-health(Hoque & Sorwar, 2017). The idea of mobile healthcare was taken and generated from different tasks in health department, these ideas includes the “call center”, where doctors are using phone calls to collect data from patients and for any queries, the second activity is the system of SMS, this system is mainly used for doing appointments and to remind the patients for any medical messages, the third activity and the most common one is the “telemedicine”, this activity is supported by both call center and SMS, its functionality is to monitor patients from distances and to record the data from patients and to measure the treatment needed by patients (Greenhalgh et al., 2017). Introduction of mobile health came with huge different in the medical department. Professional doctors and patients who uses m-health find it easy to use it and more than 50 000 apps are available for health, users download this apps for many purposes, this is supported by the research done by Miah, Hasan, Hasan, and Gammack (2017), his research revealed the available application for mobile health and it was found that apps are available anywhere you want.

Majors Uses of mobile health included data management and data collection in the patient, this was found as one of the major use of m-health by doctors because research shows that more than 66% shows that most doctors depends on mobile application to collect the data from the patients,  even when the patient is visiting the doctor, the doctor will use mobile application to collect data from the patient because it is believed the data from mobile applications prevents human errors, and data loss in the papers(Meyerrose, 2014; Miller, 2014).

 

 

Extension of m-health mobile Access (Crossing Urban-Rural health through m-health)

The Uses of medical Devices in Health care professionals

Information access and recording to the patients

Information Management between patients and professionals

Patient management and collection of information using mobile devices.

Communication between professionals and patients. The use of mobile devices by patients

The use of Smartphone in m-health

Adoption of m-healthcare

Conceptual Framework

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