The study employed a descriptive cross-sectional design with quantitative approach. This design offers the authors the opportunity to take a snapshot of the communication mediums currently in use among patients-staff, staff-staff and management-staff at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).
The study was conducted at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi, Ghana from October to November 2018. The hospital is located in the vibrant and culturally rich city of Kumasi, the regional capital of Ashanti, with a population of about 4.7 million(10). It is the second largest hospital in Ghana, and the only tertiary institution in the Ashanti Region. It serves as a major referral centre in the northern sector of Ghana. The hospital has a staff population of 3,909 who fall under these categories; Doctors (9.4%), Top Management (0.2%), Nurses and Midwives (42.2%), Certified Registered Anaesthetist (1.3%), Pharmacist and Pharmacy technicians (3.8%), Administration and Finance (6.6%), Clinical support (10.9%) and Allied Health (5.6%)
Included in the study were health workers such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, Allied health staff, clinical support staff and directorates managers, who have worked at KATH for at least five years. These categories of staff were included because they had direct communication with the patients during consultation, diagnostics and treatment. Staff who were neither involved in direct provision of health care to clients nor involved in the daily administrative activities at the clinical directorates in relation to patient care were excluded from the study. Another set of participants who were included in the study were patients present at the outpatient department of the hospital. This category of patients were included due to the assumption that they were in a conscious state and they can consent and also be able to give reasonable responses on the communication system at KATH. Patients who did not voluntarily consent to be part of the study were excluded from the study.
Data Sources/ Measurement
Primary data was obtained from participants using a structured survey questionnaire. Information was gathered on the communication mediums available for patients’ and health professionals’ interactions and possible challenges emanating from these mediums in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).
Three different questionnaires designed by the study were used. Each was used independently on the three different populations (health workers, patients and directorate managers). The reason was that each category has different ways of interacting within the hospital hence the different measuring tools.
Prior to the data collection, the questionnaire was pre-tested at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) hospital located in Kumasi to ensure the validity and reliability of the data to be collected from the study. Responses, opinions, and views generated from the pre-testing exercise were used as a guideline to review and refine the data collection tools used in the study.
Recruitment of subjects
Health professionals were contacted during working hours of the day. The study processes (rationale, risks and benefits) were explained to them. Managers of the hospital who met the inclusion criteria were pre-informed of the study followed by scheduled meetings at their offices. The project processes were explained to them. Those who agreed to participate were recruited. Patients were approached during their out-patients visits. The project processes were explained to them and their consent sort. Those who consented were recruited in the study.
Sample sizes were estimated for two different population (health professionals and patients) using different sampling approach. For health professionals and patients, sample sizes were calculated using the formula for each. We assumed that a proportion (p) of 50% of patients population and a proportion (p) of 50% of health professionals population respectively knew about the mediums used in the hospital for communication, with a 95% confidence interval (z = 1.96 for 95%); and 6% margin of error, a sample size of 264 plus 10% non-response, 26, totaling 290 was calculated for each population (health professionals and patients). For the management members, 44 of them were purposively selected since it was not difficult knowing their exact number.
Data was collected using Open Data Kit (ODK) and were transferred onto an excel spreadsheet. It was cleaned and imported into STATA V.14.0 application software to describe the counts and corresponding percentages on each research question.