MPneumonia, an innovation for diagnosing and treating childhood pneumonia in low-resource settings: A feasibility, usability and acceptability study in Ghana

Amy Sarah Ginsburg, Charlotte Tawiah Agyemang, Gwen Ambler, Jaclyn Delarosa, Waylon Brunette, Shahar Levari, Clarice Larson, Mitch Sundt, Sam Newton, Gaetano Borriello, Richard Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Pneumonia is the leading cause of infectious disease mortality in children. Currently, health care providers (HCPs) are trained to use World Health Organization Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) paper-based protocols and manually assess respiratory rate to diagnose pneumonia in low-resource settings (LRS). However, this approach of relying on clinical signs alone has proven problematic. Hypoxemia, a diagnostic indicator of pneumonia severity associated with an increased risk of death, is not assessed because pulse oximetry is often not available in LRS. To improve HCPs' ability to diagnose, classify, and manage pneumonia and other childhood illnesses, "mPneumonia" was developed. mPneumonia is a mobile health application that integrates a digital version of the IMCI algorithm with a software-based breath counter and a pulse oximeter. A design-stage qualitative pilot study was conducted to assess feasibility, usability, and acceptability of mPneumonia in six health centers and five community-based health planning and services centers in Ghana. Nine health administrators, 30 HCPs, and 30 caregivers were interviewed. Transcribed interview audio recordings were coded and analyzed for common themes. Health administrators reported mPneumonia would be feasible to implement with approval and buy-in from national and regional decision makers. HCPs felt using the mPneumonia application would be feasible to integrate into their work with the potential to improve accurate patient care. They reported it was "easy to use" and provided confidence in diagnosis and treatment recommendations. HCPs and caregivers viewed the pulse oximeter and breath counter favorably. Challenges included electricity requirements for charging and the time needed to complete the application. Some caregivers saw mPneumonia as a sign of modernity, increasing their trust in the care received. Other caregivers were hesitant or confused about the new technology. Overall, this technology was valued by users and is a promising innovation for improving quality of care in frontline health facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0165201
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'MPneumonia, an innovation for diagnosing and treating childhood pneumonia in low-resource settings: A feasibility, usability and acceptability study in Ghana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this