Applications of Digital Mobile Technologies in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Some Evidence from Frontline Healthcare Workers in Three Tertiary Hospitals in Ghana

Yiqun Geng 1, John Demuyakor 1 *
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1 Institute of Communication Studies, Communication University of China, Beijing, CHINA
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 12, Issue 4, Article No: e202226. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12249
OPEN ACCESS   373 Views   108 Downloads   Published online: 25 Jul 2022
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ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic a public health disaster of global concern on the 30th January 2020. With the highly infectious COVID-19 virus inevitably spreading across nations and causing significant health and economic impacts, leveraging Digital Mobile Technologies (DMTs) by frontline healthcare practitioners has been touted as a lifeline. Since January 2020, various frontline health workers, health experts, and health institutions across the globe have progressively embraced the use of numerous DMTs as an essential means of restraining the highly infectious disease spread. DMTs such as smart mobile phones and other digital mobile technologies are the reliable means of sharing pertinent health information, awareness, and surveillance as well as facilitating access to crucial healthcare services, especially in designated COVID-19 health facilities. Therefore, this study employed, an online survey using an exploratory-based research design to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the usage of DMTs among (n=1,126) frontline healthcare practitioners in three leading tertiary hospitals in Ghana. We adopted technology acceptance model (TAM) to study the adoption and utilization of DMTs and their limitations by frontline healthcare workers in COVID-19 management. We found that 75.1% (n=846 out of 1,126) of frontline healthcare workers, comprising nurses, medical doctors, physician assistants, and COVID-19 contact tracers were aware of DMTs, adopted and used DMTs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its management. However, 93.0% (n=784 out of 846) of those who were aware of the DMTs employed them in their daily operations beyond the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analyses also indicate that increased usage of these DMTs has significantly enhanced public healthcare campaigns and education on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. These mobile applications have also improved and boosted healthcare communications among practitioners on measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of originality, this study expands our understanding of digital technology in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in less studied regions such as Africa, West Africa, and Ghana to be specific. Secondly, the study contributes to filling a gap in our understanding of how theories such as TAM function in crisis communication management. Finally, the study recommends health authorities and governments in developing countries incorporate DMTs in their current health care systems, especially in public health emergencies like COVID-19 preparedness.

CITATION

Geng, Y., & Demuyakor, J. (2022). Applications of Digital Mobile Technologies in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Some Evidence from Frontline Healthcare Workers in Three Tertiary Hospitals in Ghana. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 12(4), e202226. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12249

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