Evaluating Caller Experience with a Telephone Health Hotline in Malawi
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Introduction: One application of mobile technology for health (mHealth) is health hotlines, which have been implemented in high-, middle-, and low-income countries to increase timely access to health information. The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics, experiences, and overall satisfaction level of recent callers to Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, a toll-free hotline in Malawi that residents can call for health advice. Methods: Primary data were collected through a cross-sectional phone survey of recent hotline users who left a callback number. The 30-item survey included mostly Likert scale questions and asked participants about their experience in general and about specific aspects of their most recent call experience. Results: Interviews were completed with 239 of the 421 users who left a callback number (57% response rate). Forty-six percent of respondents were male and nearly 80% of all participants reported living at least a one hour walk from the nearest health facility. Ninety-six percent of respondents stated their questions were “answered completely” by hotline workers, 98% reported trusting the information given by hotline workers “very much,” and 96% were “very comfortable” talking to the hotline workers. Ninety-nine percent of respondents reported being “very satisfied” with the hotline and 96% said they were “very likely” to use the service again in the future. However, nearly one-third of respondents (31%) stated that they had trouble reaching the hotline at some point. Discussion: Callers reported very positive experiences with dimensions of the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni hotline service, and 99% of the callers were “very satisfied” with the service overall. Some respondents experienced their call not being answered for a long time or at all, however, or being disconnected while talking to a hotline worker. Continued attention to the technology for a smooth call experience is needed. Further research employing qualitative methods would further illuminate caller experience with the hotline and indicate any additional areas that may warrant focused attention.
- Health services