Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Background:The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (the Agency) Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections (the Guidelines) are a key resource for Canadian clinical and public health professionals. More innovative and efficient means of dissemination of such resources are needed, and clinicians increasingly look to electronic tools to update their clinical knowledge and inform practice. In 2013, guided by needs-assessments and baseline research, the Agency embarked on the multi-phase development of a mobile application for the Guidelines, in order to facilitate use and improve uptake by practitioners in clinical and other settings where they may need to reference material on a mobile device.
Methods:A multi-disciplinary team assembled in August 2013 to manage the development of the mobile application. The process included a research phase (healthcare practitioner needs-assessments and environmental scans of health information technology, including the CDC STD mobile application); a planning and analysis phase; wireframe testing; an application development phase; and prototype testing by healthcare practitioners.
Results:The bilingual (English and French), multi-platform (iOS 6+, Android 2.2+, Windows 7+, and Blackberry 7+) mobile application is scheduled for launch July 2014. The native software is being written in HTML 5 and will allow for offline clinical use. Guidelines content on diagnosis, treatment, risk assessment and counselling will be streamlined and adapted for the mobile environment. The mobile application will be focus-tested twice by Agency physicians and nurses during the development process. A prototype will be available for demonstration at the conference.
Conclusions:Mobile applications can be used to disseminate up-to-date, evidence-informed guidelines and other resources to clinical and public health professionals. The multi-phase development process for health-related information technology requires a variety of skill sets, including technical expertise, as well as the participation and engagement of healthcare practitioners. Performance and uptake of the tool will be evaluated after the launch.