Referral App (Vula Mobile)
Mafami Pty Ltd/Vula Mobile
A teleconsultation mobile application
The Referral App provides a safe and secure connection of healthcare workers and patients to share important advice. The application has been used in teleconsultations in South Africa for burn injuries and handling emergencies.
Google Play Store and Apple Store
Goal 3: Good health and well being
Primary healthcare providers and specialized healthcare providers
Users can acquire Referral App from Google play store for android users and from Apple Store for the iOS users.
10K+ users indicated as downloads as of 2021
Connectivity requirement for the product/service to work (mobile internet, SMS, voice, fixed internet, Wi-Fi, other [specify]).
Coverage required for the product/service to work (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, broadband, dial-up, other [specify]).
Device features required for the product/service to work (bluetooth, Wi-Fi, camera, IVR, GPS, accelerometers/motion sensors, physiologic biosensors, biometric identifiers, SIM, memory card (e.g microSD), other [specify]).
Device(s) type required for the product/service to work (smartphone, feature phone, computer, tablet, other [specify]).
Connectivity requirement for the product/service to work. Some apps/services can work offline. If no, specify if network connectivity is needed at any point (e.g connectivity needed for download).
Is the product/service able to receive and send back information to the user?
Rates of user vs downloads/subscriptions – Compliance rate for the eHealth service
Support according to the literacy level required from the user. If yes, specify type of literacy support. If no, the user is intended to be literate.
Operating system required and software version (Android, IOs, Windows, other [specify])
Power supply required for the product/service to work (uninterrupted prower supply (UPS), ocassional power supply [minimum time required], other).
Education and behavior change, human resource management, decision support, data collection & analytics, electronic medical records, Healthcare provider- CHW training, telemedicine/remote diagnostic, stock management, disease surveillance and reporting
Vula connects healthcare workers and provides a secure, safe platform to receive advice on patient treatment plans and refer patients to specialist services and departments. The solution is customizable for all medical specializations and allows for easy transfer of structured patient information and images. This system works on android, iOS Platforms and can also be accessed via the web. In a video, healthcare providers describe the Vula mobile app. Referral App was designed by Vula Mobile and is being used by over 200,000 healthcare workers and serves over 480,000 patients.
Provided by the manufacturer
Vula mobile set out a target to connect patients to healthcare workers by providing a safe and secure platform.
Testing from the Karolinska Institute found a significant relationship between compatibility—usefulness, and usefulness—attitudes. Additionally, almost all health professionals in the selected sample size already used smartphones for work purposes hence were positive about using smartphones for burn consultations. Despite the ease of use of the application, participants suggested that training and ongoing support should be available. Barriers included access to wireless internet and access to hospital-provided smartphones.
59 participants rated high on concepts such as usefulness, attitude, and BI, suggesting that they were positive toward using the app.
Karolinska Institute evaluated the app through a Ph.D. study on the referral of burn injuries using the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).
Du Toit, J., Mann, T. N., Du Preez, G., & Morkel, R. W., 2019, “Orthopaedic referrals using a smartphone app: Uptake, response times and outcome,” South African Medical Journal, 109(11), pp.859-864.
Klingberg, A., Wallis, L., Hasselberg, M., Yen, P., and Fritzell, S., 2018, “Teleconsultation Using Mobile Phones for Diagnosis and Acute Care of Burn Injuries Among Emergency Physicians: Mixed-Methods Study, ” JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(10), pp. E11076.
Verhagen, Lilly M., et al., 2020, “COVID-19 response in low-and middle-income countries: don’t overlook the role of mobile phone communication,” International Journal of Infectious Diseases 99, pp. 334-337.
Duys, R., et al., 2021, “WhatsApp and Internet Protocol messaging in healthcare: a transformative opportunity,” Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia 27.2, pp. 60-62.
Kleintjes, W. G., et al., 2018, “An algorithm for responsive fluid resuscitation at the Western Cape Provincial Tertiary Adult Burn Centre,” South African Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgery & Burns 1.1, pp.16-18.
Klingberg, Anders, et al., 2020, “m-Health for Burn Injury Consultations in a Low-Resource Setting: An Acceptability Study Among Health Care Providers,” Telemedicine and e-Health 26.4, pp. 395-405.
The app complies with the data protection policy and assures all patients of safety for their data and communications are private and secure.
Through a field-based product testing study, the manufacturer and collaborators evaluated the app for acceptability, reliability, and usability tests.
Faced with challenges of connecting efficiently with rural health workers during his work at the Vula Emehlo Eye Clinic in rural Swaziland (officially the Kingdom of Eswatini), Dr. William Mapham with experience acquired during his time in New York and Washington designing mobile phone applications for healthcare. He founded Vula initially only for ophthalmology referrals and later expanded. The Vula mobile app has helped over 93,000 patients to date and data shows a 31% reduction in unnecessary referrals to tertiary hospitals. The app serves over 6,100 registered health workers on the Professional Network, and over 1,096 health facilities.
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