Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Public Health Management Related Abstracts

2 WhatsApp as a Public Health Management Tool in India

Authors: Drishti Sharma, Mona Duggal

Abstract:

Background: WhatsApp can serve as a cost-effective, scalable, convenient, and popular medium for public health management related communication in the developing world where the existing system of communication is top-down and slow. The product supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice/video calls. With growing number of users of smartphones and improving access and penetration of internet, the scope of information technology remains immense in resolving the hurdles faced by traditional public health system. Poor infrastructure, gap in digital literacy, faulty documentation, strict organizational hierarchy and slow movement of information across desks and offices- all these, make WhatsApp an efficient prospect to complement the existing system for communication, feedback and leadership for public health system in India. Objective: This study investigates the benefits, challenges and limitations associated with WhatsApp usage as a public health management tool. Methods: The study was conducted within the Chandigarh Union Territory. We used a qualitative approach and conducted individual semi-structured interviews and group interviews (n = 10). Participants included medical officers (n 20), Program managers (n = 4), academicians (n=2) and administrators (n=2). Thematic and content qualitative analyses were conducted. Message log of the WhatsApp group of one of the health program was assessed. Results: Medical Officers said that WhatsApp helped them remain in touch with the program officer. They could easily give feedback and highlight those challenges which needed immediate intervention from the program managers, hence they felt supported. Also, the application helped them share pictures of their activities (meetings and field activities) with the group which they thought inspired others and gave themselves immense satisfaction. Also, it helped build stronger relationships and better coordination among themselves, the same being important in team events. For program managers, it had become a portal for coordinating large scale campaigns. Its reach and the fact that the feedback is real-time make WhatsApp ideal for district level events. Though the easy informal connectivity made them answerable to their staff but it also provided them with flexibility in operations. It turned out to be an important portal for sharing outcome and goals related feedback (both positive and negative) to the team. To be sure, using WhatsApp for the purpose of public health program presents considerable challenges, including technological barriers, organizational challenges, gender issues, confidentiality concerns and unplanned aftereffects. Nevertheless, its advantages in a low-cost setting make it an efficient alternative. Conclusion: WhatsApp has become an integral part of our lives. Use of this app for public health program management within closed groups looks promising and useful. At the same time, addressing the challenges involved would make its usage safer.

Keywords: Communication, Public Health Management, Mobile Technology, WhatsApp

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1 Subsidying Local Health Policy Programs as a Public Management Tool in the Polish Health Care System

Authors: T. Holecki, J. Wozniak-Holecka, P. Romaniuk

Abstract:

Due to the highly centralized model of financing health care in Poland, local self-government rarely undertook their own initiatives in the field of public health, particularly health promotion. However, since 2017 the possibility of applying for a subsidy to health policy programs has been allowed, with the additional resources to be retrieved from the National Health Fund, which is the dominant payer in the health system. The amount of subsidy depends on the number of inhabitants in a given unit and ranges about 40% of the total cost of the program. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of newly implemented solutions in financing health policy on the management of public finances, as well as on the activity provided by local self-government in health promotion. An effort to estimate the amount of expenses that both local governments, and the National Health Fund, spent on local health policy programs while implementing the new solutions. The research method is the analysis of financial data obtained from the National Health Fund and from local government units, as well as reports published by the Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Pricing, which holds substantive control over the health policy programs, and releases permission for their implementation. The study was based on a comparative analysis of expenditures on the implementation of health programs in Poland in years 2010-2018. The presentation of the results includes the inclusion of average annual expenditures of local government units per 1 inhabitant, the total number of positively evaluated applications and the percentage share in total expenditures of local governments (16 voivodships areas). The most essential purpose is to determine whether the assumptions of the subsidy program are working correctly in practice, and what are the real effects of introducing legislative changes into local government levels in the context of public health tasks. The assumption of the study was that the use of a new motivation tool in the field of public management would result in multiplication of resources invested in the provision of health policy programs. Preliminary conclusions show that financial expenditures changed significantly after the introduction of public funding at the level of 40%, obtaining an increase in funding from own funds of local governments at the level of 80 to 90%.

Keywords: Public Health Management, Health Care System, health policy programs, local self-governments

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