Obstetric referrals thrive on rapid transfer of information and data, and effective communication in order to reduce delays in receiving of quality care once the woman reaches the facility. We explored health care workers’ perception of the feasibility and acceptance of WhatsApp messaging technology to facilitate obstetric referrals in selected health facilities in rural Ghana.
The study used a qualitative research method and adheres to the interpretivist ideology. This study was conducted in the Sene East District (SED) and Sene West District (SWD) in the Bono East region of Ghana. Sixteen healthcare facilities were sampled. In-depth interviews and focused group discussions were conducted. QSR NVivo-12 for data management and analysis. Collaizzi's descriptive phenomenological technique of analysis was used to analyse the data.
From the analysis, three main themes emerged. The themes included the HCWs’ perceptions of the feasibility of WhatsApp messaging technology (sub: optimist and pessimist perspectives), challenges to the acceptance of WhatsApp messaging technology (sub: challenge with getting data, network challenges, and risk of platform used for unintended purposes), and the HCWs’ perceptions of the acceptance of WhatsApp messaging technology (sub: easy communication and information sharing, improvement in quality of service, and tracking referred clients’ compliance).
We conclude that the implementation of WhatsApp messaging technology in obstetric referral is feasible and acceptable to HCWs in rural healthcare facilities in Ghana. To promote the acceptance and use of WhatsApp messaging technology in obstetric referrals, there is a need to build the capacity of HCWs and provide a working guideline to regulate the platform. The government and its partners must consider providing internet data and airtime, as well as dedicated phones to support the implementation of the use of WhatsApp messaging technology in promoting effective obstetric referral.
- Obsttetric referrals