Injury disproportionately affects persons in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Most LMIC lack capacity for routine follow-up care, likely resulting in complications and disability. Cellular telephones may provide a new tool to improve health outcomes. The objective of this study was to establish the feasibility of a mobile health follow-up program after injury in Cameroon.
Between February and October 2017, all injured patients admitted to a regional hospital in Cameroon were asked for mobile phone numbers as part of an existing trauma registry. Patients were contacted 2 weeks after leaving the hospital discharge to participate in a short triage survey. Data on program feasibility and patient condition were collected.
Of 1180 injured patients who presented for emergency care, 83% provided telephone numbers, 62% were reached, and 48% (565) of all injured patients ultimately participated in telephone follow-up. Successfully contacted patients were reached after an average of 1.76 call attempts (SD 1.91) and median call time was 4.43 min (IQR 3.67–5.36). Five patients (1%) had died from their injuries at the time of follow-up. Among surveyed patients, 27% required ongoing assistance to complete activities of daily living. Nearly, half (47%) of patients reported inability to take medicines or care for their injury as instructed at discharge. Adequate pain control was achieved in only 38% of discharged patients.
Pilot data suggest considerable under treatment of injury in Cameroon. Mobile telephone follow-up demonstrates potential as a feasible tool for screening discharged patients who could benefit from further care.