Piloting mHealth - A Research Scan

Piloting mHealth - A Research Scan - Piloting mHealth: A...

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Piloting mHealth: A Research Scan Emily Blynn, Georgetown University and Knowledge Exchange Intern Edited by Jeffrey Aubuchon, MSLS, Knowledge Manager for Library and Reference August 2009 Knowledge Exchange Management Sciences for Health 784 Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02139 Telephone: 617.250.9500 E-mail Address: [email protected]
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1 Abstract With the continued expansion of mobile technology around the globe, and the persistent lack of universal Internet connectivity, the use of mobile phones in public health presents a new opportunity to improve health services delivery. This intersection of mobile technology and public health, known as mHealth, offers four distinct applications for international development, including drug adherence and remote monitoring, remote dissemination of information, data collection and disease outbreak surveillance, and diagnostic treatment and support. Several programs have addressed these mHealth applications, but those that are most effective utilize open-source coding, are not reliant upon the Internet, and have great potential for scalability. Among the most promising projects in 2009, FrontlineSMS presents the best model for public health programs and includes applications for information dissemination and medical record data collection. 1. Introduction Mobile health, or mHealth, has great potential to improve health services delivery in the developing world. mHealth harnesses the increasing presence of cell phones among diverse populations and uses phones to deliver increased healthcare services to those receiving incomplete care. A successful mHealth project will be driven by the needs, environment, and existing technology of local users in light of recent experience. Collaboration with local organizations and government as well as the ability of the program to develop organically within the targeted population are the only ways to ensure both long-term sustainability and scalability. For effective implementation, a mHealth solution must start on a small scale with relatively simple cellular technology, and the best and most cost-efficient pilot will be open source. A pilot project that reflects these characteristics—understanding the mobile context of end-users, building on past experience, and making the program scalable and open source— holds the greatest potential to improve public health services delivered in the developing world. 2. Understanding the Mobile Context mHealth is a subset of the wider field of ICT4D (information and communications technology for development), within the sphere of e-health. E-health, known since the 1960s as telemedicine, refers to any process that enables healthcare delivery from a remote location, through “tools that facilitate communication and the processing and transmission of information by electronic means, for the purpose of improving health (including health promotion, human resources for health, and health-service delivery).” 1 Mobile phones hold great promise for improving public health in the developing world as a “leapfrog technology.”
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This note was uploaded on 01/21/2012 for the course HUMBIO 156 taught by Professor Katzenstein,d during the Fall '11 term at Stanford.

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Piloting mHealth - A Research Scan - Piloting mHealth: A...

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