End-user perspectives of two mHealth decision support tools: Electronic Community Case Management in Northern Malawi

Int J Med Inform. 2021 Jan:145:104323. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2020.104323. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Background: The introduction of a paper-based Community Case Management (CCM) in Malawi has contributed to a reduction of child morbidity and mortality rates. In addition, the introduction of electronic Community Case Management (eCCM) (smartphones with built in CCM apps) may help to reduce the under-five mortality rates even further.

Purpose: It is not uncommon for Apps with a similar area of interest to develop different features to assist the end users. Such differences between Apps may have a significant role to play in its overall adoption and integration. The purpose of this research was to explore end users perspectives of two eCCM decision support tools developed and implemented by the Supporting LIFE project (SL eCCM App) and D-Tree International's (Mangologic eCCM App)in Northern Malawi.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was applied, involving a survey of 109 users (106 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs), and 3 Integrated Management of Childhood Il6lnesses (IMCI) coordinators). This was followed up with semi-structured interviews with 34 respondents (31 HSAs, and 3 IMCI coordinators). Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version 20 where descriptive statistics and Chi-Squared tests were generated. Qualitative data were analyzed based on thematic analysis.

Results: Participants reported that both Apps could assist the HSAs in the management of childhood illnesses. However, usability differed between the two apps where the Supporting LIFE eCCM App was found to be easier to use (61%) compared to the Mangologic eCCM App (4%). Both Apps were perceived to provide credible and accurate information.

Conclusion: It is essential that the quality of the data within Mobile Health (mHealth) Apps is high, however even Apps with excellent levels of data quality may not succeed if the overall usability of the App is low. Therefore it is essential that the Apps has high levels of data quality, usability and credibility. The results of this study will help inform mobile Health (mHealth) App designers in developing future eCCM Apps as well as researchers and policy makers when considering the adoption of mHealth solutions in the future in Malawi and other LMICs.

Keywords: (CCM); (HSAs); (eCCM); (mHealth); Community Case Management; Electronic Community Case Management; Health Surveillance Assistants; Northern Malawi; mobile Health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case Management
  • Child
  • Electronics
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Telemedicine*