Evaluation of a digital health resource providing physiotherapy information for postnatal women in a tertiary public hospital in Australia

Kate Goode


Background: Pregnancy and childbirth have a profound and lasting effect on the female body. Reduced length of postnatal hospital stay has impacted the ability of physiotherapy staff to provide early intervention and education on postnatal recovery and rehabilitation. A novel method of providing physiotherapy education to postnatal women was implemented in an attempt to meet consumer needs in the changing hospital environment. A digital health resource was developed and evaluated to determine consumer satisfaction and access.
Methods: Postnatal women admitted to the postnatal ward were invited to participate in a survey of the digital health resource during a 17-day recruitment period. A participant information sheet was provided to the patient and a signed consent form collected from those willing to participate. Online surveys were emailed to women at approximately 2 weeks postnatal and a thematic analysis of the responses was completed.
Results: A total of 88 women were recruited to the study during a 17-day recruitment period with a 30% response rate (n=27) to an online survey sent at approximately 2 weeks postpartum. Of the 27 respondents, 33% had watched the digital health resource and were able to provide feedback on resource content, format and length, as well as enablers and barriers to access and viewing habits. Survey responses indicated the resource was viewed only after discharge from hospital and most commonly on a mobile device. Most women engaged with the resource to learn more about their own recovery, and all women found the advice on pelvic floor exercise useful. Lack of time was the most commonly reported barrier to viewing the digital health resource.
Conclusions: This quality assurance project demonstrated the existing digital health resource provides useful information to women following discharge from the postnatal ward but strategies to improve awareness of the resource should be investigated further.