South Africa: New Mobi App to Improve Health Services

Digital Content

Pretoria — The national Department of Health has launched a mobile application that seeks to improve primary health care services in the health sector in South Africa.

On Wednesday, Health Regulations and Compliance Manager at the department, Dr Anban Pillay, said the mobile application is an information and communication tool that can empower the primary health care worker, reduce the burden on secondary and tertiary services and strengthen the delivery of equitable and effective health care.

The application is for Primary Health Care Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List.

"It leverages the capabilities of modern smart phone technology to facilitate efficient, point-of-care access to the latest medicine information.

"The availability of the clinical guidelines such as the Primary Health Care Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List in mobile application format is a useful tool that can help all health care professionals to better use antimicrobials in such a way as to decrease antimicrobial resistance and improve patient outcomes," said Pillay.

He said the department is committed to increasing access to good quality care and improving the health care system by focusing on access, equity, efficiency, quality and sustainability.

"Currently, access to the Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List is mainly paper-based in the form of books, which are distributed to various health facilities and academic institutions," said Pillay.

However, through the new mobile application, health care workers will not need to refer to papers when doing their job.

He said the application can potentially be used to share important messages and updates to improve communication and provide information in real-time. It targets a wide audience and is easy to access.

"The app is for all categories of health care professionals, health care workers, managers at district, provincial and national level and community-based organisations involved in medicine use," he said.

It has been made available on most modern smart phones, including Android, Apple and Windows.

Pillay said the application has features such as the cardiovascular risk assessment tool, which efficiently calculates a patient's percentage risk of having a cardiovascular event such as a stroke or a heart attack in the next 10 years, among other things; the paediatric drug dosage calculator, which accurately calculates the weight or age-based dosage for the most common medications on the Essential Medicines List, among others; and the medicine stock-out tool, which allows healthcare professionals to report medication shortage and stock-outs directly to the Department of Health.

Pillay said the mobile application is not intended to entirely replace other clinical formats.

"The intention is to add to existing tools to promote rational medicine use, improve access to essential medicines and provide better patient care," he said.

The application can be downloaded from Google Play Store and it is called PHC Clinical Guide.
Source: 25 November 2015