September 15, 2010
mHealth Working Group Meeting Notes
Wednesday, September 15th 2010, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Eastern US)
Held at the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Washington D.C
Developments at the mHealth Working Group
The mHealth Working Group promotes collaboration and leadership in mHealth. In this spirit, we are announcing several examples of collaborative leadership by members. Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and Family Health International (FHI) will lead sections of the mHealth Toolkit. We are excited to have Laura Raney of FHI as the new co-chair of the mHealth Working Group. Laura is the co-chair of HIPNet, the Health Information and Publications Network. HIPNet is a USAID- fundedcollaboration among organizations that provide access to technical health information and innovative information technologies. We are also seeking interested partners for the mHealth Working Group and mHealth Toolkit as we expand to cover mHealth for health information systems.
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) will host the next meeting of the mHealth Working Group on the morning of October 26th. MSH is located at 4301 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA.
Abt Associates will host the next meeting of our technical group on mHealth for behavior change communication (mBCC) at 10:00 am – 12:00 noon on October 12th. Preparations for the technical group were discussed, and level of evidence was suggested as an additional agenda item. Please find the draft mBCC Resource Kit Initiative at /toolkits/mhealth/2010-09-15-discussion-mbcc-resource-kit-initiative.
New methods for sharing information on mHealth were discussed.
- News from the mHealth Working Group will be announced through our new listserv. Anyone interested is welcome to join the listserv at http://knowledge-gateway.org/mhealth. Listserv members are also invited to share announcements and materials with the listserv by sending them to email@example.com.
- New materials are welcome for the mHealth Toolkit at www.k4health.org/toolkits/mhealth.
- To promote organizational access to information on mHealth, discussion covered the planned introduction of an eToolkits Window. The Window will allow you to link content from the mHealth Toolkit to your website. Employees can access the small window listing the most recent resources added to the toolkit of your choice.
mHealth for Health Information Systems
Literature on mHealth for Health Information Systems (HIS) raises a number of practical opportunities and challenges, ranging from data customization to impact on workflow. At a more fundamental level, mHealth is vulnerable to a number of interoperability and standardization issues that can affect all HIS. These issues were raised in the August 18 conference call of our technical group on mHealth for HIS. Several groups are addressing health information systems and health information technology, such as WHO, HMN, and OpenMRS. The mHealth Alliance will also launch its HUB site soon.
A range of presenters were invited to examine the practical and overarching issues in HIS. For the September 15th meeting presentations and August 18th HIS conference call notes, please see /toolkits/mhealth/working-group-materials.
Thulani Mbatha of Management Sciences for Health presented on Using Cell Phones to Monitor Availability of Malaria Medicines. The pilots used EpiSurveyor to capture observational, survey and GPS data for supply chain management. The free software required little IT support. Updating and digitization of forms took one week and data collectors were trained in one day. Challenges included a phone model that was chosen for its large screen and better keyboard feature, which had occasional difficulty obtaining GPS coordinates. Other challenges included limited internet connectivity for transferring data while still at the facility. It was recommended to upload later with internet connectivity. Data could be stored on the servers of the project or of Datadyne, the software producer. The Ministry of Health required that data be safeguarded with password protection. In the long run, it may be necessary for ministries to host data on their own servers.
Scott Ruddick of Mennonite Economic Development Associates presented on MEDA mHealth: Pakistan & Tanzania. The mobile system in Tanzania addresses bed net orders, shop signup, and net deliveries. Use of GPS mapping of data allows more efficient delivery routes for nets.
David Lubinski of PATH presented on Creating Stronger Health Systems Through Stronger Health Information Systems. The overview addressed the increasing complexity of HIS, and provided an approach for solution development. David emphasized the important role that health experts have in determining requirements. A report on the topic will be released soon, and feedback will be sought. Discussion raised the point that technology can make problems more visible, but technology, itself, often cannot solve the problem. Solving an identified problem requires human response and coordination. Furthermore, any health information system that does not lead to action will be abandoned for lack of use.
Current Developments and Events in mHealth
The mHealth Alliance recently launched its glossary, which can be found at
Events on mHealth can be found at /toolkits/mhealth/events-mhealth. Members of the listserv for the mHealth Working Group are welcome to share event announcements at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lost & Found
A green notebook was left at the meeting. If you wish to reclaim it, please contact email@example.com.