HumanInsight Health worker perspectives of Smart Triage, a digital triaging platform for quality improvement at a referral hospital in Uganda: a qualitative analysis
BMC Pediatr. 2022 Oct 13;22(1):593. doi: 10.1186/s12887-022-03627-1.
BACKGROUND: Effective triage at hospitals can improve outcomes for children globally by helping identify and prioritize care for those most at-risk of death. Paper-based pediatric triage guidelines have been developed to support frontline health workers in low-resource settings, but these guidelines can be challenging to implement. Smart Triage is a digital triaging platform for quality improvement (QI) that aims to address this challenge. Smart Triage represents a major cultural and behavioural shift in terms of managing patients at health facilities in low-and middle-income countries. The purpose of this study is to understand user perspectives on the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of Smart Triage to inform ongoing and future implementation.
METHODS: This was a descriptive qualitative study comprising of face-to-face interviews with health workers (n = 15) at a regional referral hospital in Eastern Uganda, conducted as a sub-study of a larger clinical trial to evaluate Smart Triage (NCT04304235). Thematic analysis was used to assess the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of the platform, focusing on its use in stratifying and prioritizing patients according to their risk and informing QI initiatives implemented by health workers.
RESULTS: With appropriate training and experience, health workers found most features of Smart Triage usable and feasible to implement, and reported the platform was acceptable due to its positive impact on reducing the time to treatment for emergency pediatric cases and its use in informing QI initiatives within the pediatric ward. Several factors that reduced the feasibility and acceptability were identified, including high staff turnover, a lack of medical supplies at the hospital, and challenges with staff attitudes.
CONCLUSION: Health workers can use the Smart Triage digital triaging platform to identify and prioritize care for severely ill children and improve quality of care at health facilities in low-resource settings. Future innovation is needed to address identified feasibility and acceptability challenges; however, this platform could potentially address some of the challenges to implementing current paper-based systems.
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