Aims Provision of additional educational healthcare information (AEHI) is an important part of ‘safety netting’ when discharging from the Children's Emergency Department (CED). The provision of written AEHI has obvious limitations when you consider the increasing numbers of families in whom English is not the first language and the UK functional illiteracy rate of 18%. We decided to explore the possibility of creating a smart phone App that delivered a combination of written and audio AEHI about a range of common CED presentations in English and other commonly encountered languages.
Methods A 3 stage feasibility assessment for the App was undertaken: 1. Internet and literature reviews to ascertain the availability of smart phones and whether there is evidence or experience of using smart phones for AEHI provision. 2. Surveys of patients and staff to determine the acceptability of providing AEHI via an App in addition to gathering information on potential content and the most commonly encountered languages. 3. Discussion with a design company to determine the technical feasibility of an App that provides combined written and audio AEHI in several languages.
Results A literature search revealed little evidence for the use of Apps in this setting. One recent British CED based study demonstrated that 50% of families surveyed would be interested in the provision of advice by other means with mobile phones being most frequently suggested. Consumer studies suggest that smart phones are now widely used in the UK. Families visiting our CED demonstrated widespread support for an App with 29 of 30 (97%) survey respondents indicating they would be happy to receive advice in this fashion. A staff survey revealed the commonest other languages encountered were Somali, Polish, Romanian and Urdu. Further information about smart phone operating systems and what advice families and staff wanted to see on the App was recorded. Discussions with a design company confirmed the technical feasibility of the App.
Conclusion This feasibility assessment suggests that an AEHI App would be welcomed and capable of providing both written and audio advice to families in a range of commonly encountered languages.