High acceptability for cell phone text messages to improve communication of laboratory results with HIV-infected patients in rural Uganda

A cross-sectional survey study

Mark J. Siedner, Jessica E. Haberer, Mwebesa Bosco Bwana, Norma C. Ware, David Bangsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Patient-provider communication is a major challenge in resource-limited settings with large catchment areas. Though mobile phone usership increased 20-fold in Africa over the past decade, little is known about acceptability of, perceptions about disclosure and confidentiality, and preferences for cell phone communication of health information in the region. Methods. We performed structured interviews of fifty patients at the Immune Suppression Syndrome clinic in Mbarara, Uganda to assess four domains of health-related communication: a) cell phone use practices and literacy, b) preferences for laboratory results communication, c) privacy and confidentiality, and d) acceptability of and preferences for text messaging to notify patients of abnormal test results. Results: Participants had a median of 38years, were 56% female, and were residents of a large catchment area throughout southwestern Uganda. All participants expressed interest in a service to receive information about laboratory results by cell phone text message, stating benefits of increased awareness of their health and decreased transportation costs. Ninety percent reported that they would not be concerned for unintended disclosure. A minority additionally expressed concerns about difficulty interpreting messages, discouragement upon learning bad news, and technical issues. Though all respondents expressed interest in password protection of messages, there was also a strong desire for direct messages to limit misinterpretation of information. Conclusions: Cell phone text messaging for communication of abnormal laboratory results is highly acceptable in this cohort of HIV-infected patients in rural Uganda. The feasibility of text messaging, including an optimal balance between privacy and comprehension, should be further studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Text Messaging
Cell Phones
Uganda
Cross-Sectional Studies
Communication
HIV
Privacy
Confidentiality
Disclosure
Health Communication
Health
Cell Communication
Learning
Interviews
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • Cellular phones
  • Confidentiality
  • HIV
  • Privacy
  • SMS
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy

Cite this

High acceptability for cell phone text messages to improve communication of laboratory results with HIV-infected patients in rural Uganda : A cross-sectional survey study. / Siedner, Mark J.; Haberer, Jessica E.; Bwana, Mwebesa Bosco; Ware, Norma C.; Bangsberg, David.

In: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Vol. 12, No. 1, 56, 2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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