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    OS01 - It's All About the Patient Outcomes! (ID 1)

    • Event: e-Health 2019 Virtual Meeting
    • Type: Oral Session
    • Track: Clinical Delivery
    • Presentations: 1
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      OS01.04 - Sex Workers’ Preferences for ICT Tools for Health and Safety (ID 188)

      Th, IHPME, University of Toronto; Toronto/CA

      • Abstract
      • Slides

      While sex work itself is not illegal, the criminalization of certain aspects of sex work in Canada increases Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risks, including violence, stigma and discrimination. The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as web pages, Twitter, and WhatsApp as a tool for the sex worker communities to access OHS strategies is largely unexplored. The objective of this qualitative study is to explore the question: What are the needs and preferences of Toronto-based sex workers (SWs) regarding ICTs as a strategy to communicate knowledge and education about OHS risks in the workplace?

      This qualitative study consists of two components, both using a community-based research approach. The first is a thematic analysis of three focus groups and three individual interviews (unpublished data from a previous research project) to provide preliminary insights into how sex workers might like to utilize ICTs for OHS. The second component will delve deeply into the needs and barriers of sex workers in terms of OHS, and their preferences in ICT use through focus groups. The findings from the first component will be used to inform the categories of inquiry for the focus groups. The second component will be conducted with Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project (Maggie's). Focus groups of 6 to 8 participants will be convened until data saturation is reached. Leaders from the sex worker community will facilitate the discussions. After each interview, the researcher will practice reflexivity by documenting her own observations on what took place during the interviews. Using thematic content analysis, the focus group transcripts will be analyzed by three people; this group will be composed of the researcher, a research assistant and a member of the sex worker community trained in qualitative analysis.

      The first component revealed that sex workers would like the following OHS strategies to be available via an ICT tool: condom negotiation techniques; anonymous reporting of assault; reducing a sense of isolation; reduction in HIV vulnerability; job satisfaction; client does not attempt removal of condom; prevention of stalking, exploitation, being outed. The interviews did not provide insights into the privacy and security concerns when using ICTs and will be explored in the focus groups in the second component. The research will be completed by March 2019; results from the completed study will be presented at the conference.

      The research into ICT tools will support sex workers in their access to OHS strategies. As most SWs in Toronto, Canada, own a smartphone, the provision of an ICT tool for SWs to exchange OHS strategies endeavours to reduce their OHS risks, strengthen their social network, enhance their social cohesion and social capital. The findings from this research will inform a future study ?What are the core components of potential ICT intervention strategies to exchange OHS information in the workplace?? Once the chosen ICT intervention has been established, another phase of research, exploring the feasibility of SWs using an ICT intervention to exchange OHS strategies in the workplace, is proposed as the next step.

      140 Character Summary:
      Community-based research with Toronto sex workers in exploring the potential of exchanging occupational health and safety strategies via an ICT tool

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