Healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences on using mHealth technologies to deliver primary healthcare services: A qualitative evidence synthesis




Poster session 4 Saturday: Evidence implementation and evaluation


Saturday 16 September 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00


All authors in correct order:

Odendaal W1, Watkins JA2, Goudge J3, Griffiths F2, Tomlinson M4, Leon N1, Daniels K1
1 South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
2 Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
3 Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
4 Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Willem Odendaal

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Mobile health (mHealth) technology is used in primary healthcare to improve the delivery and organisation of services, and communication on all levels. mHealth effectiveness reviews attest to the ubiquitous and diverse nature of these technologies, and show mixed results of its effectiveness. These reviews should be supplemented with describing and understanding the facilitators and barriers to the successful use of mHealth.

Objectives: This review seeks to identify, appraise and synthesise qualitative research evidence on healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences regarding their use of mHealth technologies to deliver primary healthcare services. It further aims to identify hypotheses about why some technologies are more effective than others.

Methods: The review team independently double-screened the abstracts, titles and full texts for inclusion, and two reviewers will independently do peer-data extraction for the included studies. A thematic content analysis will be used to analyse the data from these studies. We will apply the CERQual methodology to assess and describe the level of confidence that can be place in the findings from our review.

Results: We included 46 full texts from the 3655 titles/abstracts we screened, and are at the data-extraction stage. We will present the full results at the Summit. A preliminary reading of the included studies suggests: (i) healthcare workers have mostly positive views on using mHealth; (ii) successful implementation requires integration with the broader health system in which it is used; and, (ii) barriers are related to operational challenges such as poor connectivity and maintenance costs.

Conclusions: mHealth has become entrenched in the delivery of primary healthcare services. Identifying the facilitators and barriers to the efficient use of these technologies, as reported in the experiences and perceptions of those using it to deliver healthcare, may contribute to understanding the mixed results of effectiveness studies.