Determining the feasibility of using mobile phones to strengthen the information management of preventative health care in South Africa

Snyders, Frans Johannes (2013-12)

Thesis (MEng)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa’s health sector has not yet shown enough improvement to reach the Millennium Development Goals related to health. One of the problem areas is the low infant and child vaccination coverage in certain areas of South Africa. The use of mobile phones in health care (mHealth) has the potential to strengthen the primary health care system through improved information management. A mobile health solution for vaccination (MHSV) can be used to improve information management of vaccinations, which in turn can improve vaccination coverage. However, the feasibility of implementing such an MHSV in the South African context is unknown. This study therefore investigates the feasibility of using mobile phones to improve information management for child vaccinations in South Africa. Feasibility is determined by using a feasibility framework together with business model development. The feasibility framework, which is informed by a literature study, surveys and a case study, determines the feasibility of an MHSV in terms of human factors, technical feasibility, information management, policies and ethics, and economics. It is found that an MHSV is feasible in South Africa, although certain areas pose challenges that will have to be considered. Complementing the feasibility framework, business models are developed to suggest possible ways in which an MHSV can be deployed in South Africa. These models build on the results from the feasibility framework and are developed using Osterwalder’s business model canvas. The effect of the National Health Insurance (NHI) on these business models is also examined. In order to validate the feasibility framework and business models, interviews were held with experts in health care and mobile phone solutions. These interviews show that the research is valid and that the feasibility framework and business models can be generalised to the wider field of mHealth solutions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika se gesondheidsektor het nog nie genoeg verbetering getoon om die gesondheidsverwante Millenium Ontwikkelingsdoelwitte te bereik nie. Een van die probleemareas is die besondere lae inentingsdekking van babas en kinders in sekere gebiede van Suid-Afrika. Die gebruik van selfone vir gesondheidsorg hou die potensiaal in om die primêre gesondheidsorgstelsel te versterk deur inligtingsbestuur te verbeter. ’n Inentingsoplossing wat gebruik maak van selfone, bekend as ‘n “mobile health solution for vaccination” (MHSV), kan inligtingsbestuur van inentings verbeter, wat hoër inentingsdekking tot gevolg kan hê. Die haalbaarheid van die implementering van so ’n MHSV in die konteks van Suid-Afrika is egter onbekend. Hierdie studie ondersoek dus die haalbaarheid daarvan om selfone te gebruik vir beter inligtingsbestuur van kinder-inenting in Suid-Afrika. Haalbaarheid word vasgestel deur ’n haalbaarheidsraamwerk en die ontwikkeling van besigheidsmodelle te gebruik. Die haalbaarheidsraamwerk, wat toegelig word deur ’n literatuurstudie, vraelyste en ’n gevallestudie, bepaal die haalbaarheid van ’n MHSV in terme van menslike faktore, tegniese haalbaarheid, inligtingbestuur, beleid en etiek, en ekonomie. Daar word gevind dat ’n MHSV haalbaar is in Suid-Afrika, alhoewel sekere areas uitdagings inhou. Die haalbaarheidsraamwerk word aangevul deur die ontwikkeling van besigheidsmodelle wat moontlike maniere voorstel waarop ’n MHSV in Suid-Afrika ontplooi kan word. Hierdie modelle word geskoei op die resultate van die haalbaarheidsraamwerk en word ontwikkel met behulp van Osterwalder se besigheidsmodelskema (“business model canvas”). Die effek van die nasionale gesondheidversekering op hierdie modelle word ook ondersoek. Onderhoude met kundiges in die veld van selfoonoplossings vir gesondheidsorg word gebruik om die haalbaarheidsraamwerk en die besigheidsmodelle te valideer. Die onderhoude toon dat die navorsing geldig is en dat die haalbaarheidsraamwerk en besigheidsmodelle veralgemeen kan word na die wyer veld van selfoonoplossings vir gesondheidsorg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85564
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