Design suggestions for an mHealth app to facilitate communication between pharmacists and the Deaf: perspective of the Deaf community (HEARD Project)

Sabrina Anne Jacob, Elizabeth Yie-Chuen Chong, Soo Leng Goh, Uma Devi Palanisamy

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Background: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing patients have trouble communicating with community pharmacists and accessing the healthcare system. This study explored the views on a proposed mobile health (mHealth) app in terms of design and features, that will be able to bridge the communication gap between community pharmacists and DHH patients.
Methods: A community-based participatory research method was utilized. Two focus group discussions were conducted in Malaysian Sign Language with a total of 10 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals. Respondents were recruited using purposive sampling. Video-recordings were transcribed, and analyzed using a thematic approach.
Results: Two themes emerged: (1) Challenges and scepticism of the healthcare system, and (2) Features of the mHealth app. Respondents expressed fears and concerns about accessing healthcare services, and stressed on the need for sign language interpreters. There were also concerns about data privacy and security. With regard to app features, the majority preferred videos instead of text to convey information about their disease and medication, due to their lower literacy levels.
Conclusions: For an mHealth app to be effective, app designers must ensure the app is individualised according to the cultural and linguistic diversity of the target audience. Pharmacists should also educate patients on the potential benefits of the app in terms of assisting patients with their medicine-taking.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Early online date15 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2020


  • Deaf
  • community pharmacist
  • mHealth
  • pharmaceutical care
  • communication

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