As part of the response plans for the current outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), authorities are drafting and implementing containment measures across jurisdictions worldwide in the effort to slow down transmission and reduce the infection rate. A solid communication strategy is needed to increase the reach of valid information to health professionals, reduce misinformation, and efficiently implement recommended measures.
The aim of this paper is to describe the utilization of a dedicated mobile health (mHealth) platform to disseminate up-to-date and validated information about SARS-CoV-2 to all medical staff of the Children’s Hospital at the University Hospitals of Geneva.
Three documents containing institutional information concerning screening, local containment procedures, and frequently asked questions and answers for parents were made available to the staff through a mobile app developed in the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Using a third-party statistics tool, we anonymously monitored user activity as well as content utilization patterns since the diagnosis of the first case of SARS-CoV-2 in Switzerland on February 25, 2020.
From February 25, 2020, to March 13, 2020 (18 days), information documents on SARS-CoV-2 were viewed 859 times, which accounted for 35.6% of the total content views (total views=332). User activity increased significantly with 50.8 (SD 14.4) users per day in this period as compared to the previous weeks (mean 26.4, SD 9.8; P<.001). In addition, session numbers per day more than doubled during the aforementioned period (P<.001). In a survey, medical staff found the information easy to find within the app. On a 10-point Likert scale, the ability of the app to reassure staff in clinical practice was rated as 7.6 (SD 2.1), time-saving ability was rated as 8.5 (SD 2.1), and the need to look for information from other sources was rated as 5.9 (SD 3.3).
The use of an mHealth solution to disseminate novel coronavirus–related information seemed to be an effective and time-saving communication channel within our institution during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Medical staff felt reassured and informed in daily practice. More research should be done on the clinical impact and outcomes of the integration of mHealth solutions as a communication channel of validated information within health institutions.