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Journal Article


Kabanda S, Rother HA. BMC Med. Inform. Decis. Mak. 2019; 19(1): e40.


Environmental Health Division & Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR), School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town; Faculty of Health Sciences, Falmouth Building, Anzio Road, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group - BMC)






BACKGROUND: Mobile health is a fast-developing field. The use of mobile health applications by healthcare professionals (HCPs) globally has increased considerably. While several studies in high income countries have investigated the use of mobile applications by HCPs in clinical practice, few have been conducted in low- and middle-income countries. The University of Cape Town developed a pesticide notification guideline which has been adapted and embedded into a South African Essential Medical Guidance mobile application. This study evaluated the usefulness of the guideline within a mobile application for improving the ability of HCPs to diagnose and notify on acute pesticide poisonings (APPs).

METHODS: A descriptive online questionnaire, with 15 open- and 20 closed-ended questions, was completed by 50 South African emergency medicine physicians and registrars (i.e. medical doctors training as specialists) between December 2015 to February 2016. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate response frequencies and percentages using SPSS version 23. Texts from the open-ended questions were thematically analysed. Fisher's exact test was applied to determine associations.

RESULTS: A significant association was found between participants' knowledge that APP is a notifiable condition, and ever reporting the poisoning to the National Department of Health (pā€‰=ā€‰0.005). Thirty four percent of the participants were aware of the guideline within the Essential Medical Guidance application despite only seven participants having used it. Those who used the guideline found it provided useful information for the identification of unlabelled pesticides products and promoted reporting these cases to the National Department of Health for surveillance purposes. In addition, it appeared to facilitate the prompt diagnosis and treatment of APP cases, and most intended to continue using it for training and educational purposes.

CONCLUSIONS: Mobile health applications appear to support overburdened medical education programmes and promote better patient care. However, since most participants were not aware of the existence of the pesticide guideline within the studied essential medicine application, there is potential for the use of healthcare applications to play a more central role in healthcare systems and medical training. Furthermore, the field of medical informatics could support HCPs through mobile applications in improving reporting of APP.

Language: en


Acute pesticide poisoning; Health promotion; Healthcare professional; Low-and middle-income countries; Pesticide notification; Pesticides; South Africa; mHealth


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