Smartphone and app usage amongst South African anaesthetic service providers
Background: Mobile medical applications have evolved rapidly in the 21st century, making it easier for anaesthetic service providers to utilise these for work-related queries. However, there is no South African data available to determine if this technology is being utilised. The usage patterns of mobile medical health applications and the accessibility of this technology to a resource-limited environment, along with a focus on what apps South African anaesthetic service providers are using was assessed and quantified. Secondly, the favourability of a South African-based app and any possible barriers to entry were examined.
Methods: A prospective, contextual, descriptive study was conducted amongst anaesthetic service providers attending the 2018 South African Society of Anaesthesiologists National Congress in Cape Town. Two hundred and thirty-two (116 specialists and 116 registrars) surveys were completed voluntarily between 4 to 8 April 2018, and analysed.
Results: 100% of participants utilise smartphones for work-related queries. 169/232 (72%) participants favoured a South African-based app. Drug referencing and calculator functionality were the most frequently used mobile applications. Specialists were more likely to admit to nonprofessional use of smartphones in theatre. High data costs contribute to decreased usage amongst respondents.
Conclusions: A South African-based pharmacology app would be welcomed and utilised by the South African anaesthetic community. Smartphone and app usage patterns, as well as limitations to this technology usage in South Africa appear to reflect those seen worldwide. Poor internet connectivity and high data costs were limiting factors to technology utilisation.
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