Original Research

The feasibility of the PicPecc application as an mHealth tool: Reflections from South African children

Ensa Johnson, Khetsiwe Masuku, Stefan Nilsson, Juan Bornman, Arine Kuyler
Rehabilitation Advances in Developing Health Systems | Vol 1, No 1 | a7 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/radhs.v1i1.7 | © 2024 Ensa Johnson, Khetsiwe Masuku, Stefan Nilsson, Juan Bornman, Arine Kuyler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2024 | Published: 17 June 2024

About the author(s)

Ensa Johnson, Department of Inclusive Education, School of Educational Studies, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Khetsiwe Masuku, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Stefan Nilsson, Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Juan Bornman, Division of Speech, Language, and Hearing Therapy, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Arine Kuyler, Department of Inclusive Education, School of Educational Studies, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Access to technology (and data) through mobile health (mHealth) can alleviate some of the challenges children experience in accessing healthcare services. However, the South African context is unique with children living in under-resourced and rural communities, with limited transport, long commute times to reach clinics, and poor access to technology. Therefore, even though mHealth tools can be beneficial, researchers need to determine the feasibility of such an application for the South African context.

Aim: The study focussed on determining the feasibility of the PicPecc application (app) (an mHealth tool) in South Africa for children requiring mental health support.

Setting: The study included 20 children between the age of 7 years and 18 years in different mainstream schools and a special school.

Methods: A qualitative research design was used to conduct structured interviews with children, either via an online meeting (e.g., Google Meet) or in a natural setting (in the child’s school or home context).

Results: The data were analysed and themes were identified according to five dimensions of access to healthcare and technology, namely acceptability, availability, accessibility, affordability, and accommodation.

Conclusion: This study found that the PicPecc app is promising for implementation in the South African clinical setting. Participants reported various advantages when utilising the app to self-report health symptoms and thus considered it feasible for implementation in the South African context.

Contribution: The study highlights important considerations for the implementation of mHealth technologies in the South African context.


Keywords

access to healthcare; children; eHealth; health technology; mobile health; paediatric

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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