J Rural Med. 2022 Jul;17(3):166-170. doi: 10.2185/jrm.2021-044. Epub 2022 Jul 1.
Objective: Healthcare services using mobile-phone based telemedicine provide simple technology that does not require sophisticated equipment. This study assessed community health workers' knowledge, attitude, and practice (i.e., their readiness) at the village level for uptake of mobile-phone based telemedicine. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 80 community health workers, including Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, Multipurpose Health Workers and Accredited Social Health Activists working in a rural health block of India. A pre-tested, semi-structured, interviewer-assisted, self-administered questionnaire was used to assess their mobile-phone based telemedicine readiness. Results: Sixty (75.0%) health workers owned mobile phones. The median readiness score for mobile-phone based telemedicine was 109.0. The Accredited Social Health Activists showed a better attitude toward mobile-phone based telemedicine than others. There was a significant moderate positive correlation (r=0.67) between knowledge and practice domains. Community health workers who had smartphones showed a significantly better attitude than those who did not. Conclusion: Training programs on telemedicine service delivery, focused on Auxiliary Nurse Midwives/ Multipurpose Health Workers, can improve their attitudes towards telemedicine. A better attitude of the Accredited Social Health Activists must be leveraged to initiate mobile-phone based telemedicine services on a pilot basis initially and later scaled up in other settings.
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