mHealth

  • Blog post
    ORB promo

    #mPoweringORB 
    Credit: Liz Eddy, MCSP

    Note: This has been cross-posted and adapted from mPowering Frontline Health Workers.

    Today, mPowering Frontline Health Workers (mPowering) announces the launch of ORB, an online content platform that will play a major role in improving the performance of hundreds of thousands of frontline health workers.

    ORB is the first comprehensive online library of high quality, mobile-optimized, openly licensed training materials for frontline health workers. Through relevant, timely training materials and information, ORB helps frontline workers access the knowledge they need to transform health outcomes for millions of women and children.

  • Blog post

    Before the 2014 Global mHealth Forum, if you’d asked me to draft a budget for developing and deploying a mHealth solution, I’d have shrugged and thought, “Sure. Piece of cake.”  As a program manager and someone with a fair amount of experience in mHealth, I would have felt confident mapping out a process and assigning a budget to each step. Then, at the Forum, I had the opportunity to attend an interactive session in the Finance Track that made me consider how my personal perspective could affect budgeting. The session, titled “What Does mHealth Really Cost? Understanding the Question,” was presented by Eric Couper of Abt Associates and Jonathan Jackson of Dimagi, Inc. and intended to teach people the importance of preparing a reasonable budget for a mHealth solution. My biggest takeaway was how necessary it is to include many roles and perspectives in the decision-making process.

    We were broken up into groups, given a case study of an mHealth intervention in Guatemala, and told to determine a budget for a one-year intervention that moved through the steps of design, development, test, train, and deploy. The staff roles they identified for the activity were an expat project manager, an expat lead designer, a local IT manager, a local trainer, and an expat trainer.

  • Blog post
    A man uses mHealth intervention "cStock" in Malawi. © 2013 SC4CCM/JSI, Courtesy of Photoshare

    A man uses mHealth intervention "cStock" in Malawi. © 2013 SC4CCM/JSI, Courtesy of Photoshare

    For many years, the main criticism of mHealth by the public heath community has been the lack of evidence.  Through the tireless efforts of academics and doctoral candidates throughout the world, we have matured in our approach to assessing the impact of mHealth interventions and now have more and better data illustrating what aspects of mHealth are generating improved health outcomes and which are not.  As an academic myself, I am frequently asked by nervous mHealth program managers and software developers, “What if the study shows that the technology is not generating positive results?”

    My response is, “Well, then we should stop investing in it.”  This is by far the most uncomfortable 10 minutes in the relationship between a researcher and an implementer.  To ease the discomfort, I sometimes add in the caveat, “Or if the study indicates mixed results (which is usually the case), you can course correct based on the new knowledge you have gained and re-evaluate.” 

  • Blog post
    mHealth Forum tweet

    When Dr. Patricia Mechael opened the inaugural mHealth Forum at this year’s mHealth Summit, she asked who had been to the first Summit in 2009. Out of the few hundred people in the room, only a handful raised their hands. She also asked who had a PDA that year, then followed up with “Who doesn’t know what a PDA is?” Neither question garnered many responses. The audience, it seemed, was a new guard of mHealth practitioners with a keen sense of history. It was fitting then, that an afternoon session, "Does This Work? Tools and Results from Evidence Grading," focused on the mHealth evidence base, gaps, and discussion of how to fill them.

    The 2009 Summit highlighted a wide range of case studies, including “Microsoft® smart phones monitoring fetal heart rates to SMS and mobile health delivery in rural Malawi.” Since then, health practitioners have documented their use of mobile technologies in Summit proceedings, publications, project reports, blog posts, and emails. But until last year, there was no central location where researchers and implementers could see what had been done and what had succeeded. K4Health, in partnership with the WHO mHealth Technical & Evidence Review Group (mTERG) and JHU Global mHealth Initiative (GmI), responded by developing mHealthevidence.org.

  • Blog post
    Global mHealth Forum Logo

    If you haven’t heard (but we hope you have!), the first-ever Global mHealth Forum will be held at this year’s mHealth Summit to focus on sharing the successes, challenges and lessons learned from implementing mHealth programs in low and middle income countries (LMICs).  Two days—Dec 10th and 11th—will be dedicated to hearing from over 150 speakers representing 77 organizations and 25-plus countries as they tackle the most pressing questions related to designing, implementing, scaling and evaluating mHealth initiatives.  The mHealth Working Group, Personal Connected Health Alliance, and USAID have partnered to organize this inaugural Forum.

  • Indian children interact with mHealth service

    Children in Kanpur, India, listen on a mobile phone to Sesame Workshop radio content with health messaging. ©2013 Francis Gonzales, Courtesy of Photoshare

  • Blog post
    Indian children interact with mHealth service

    Children in Kanpur, India, listen on a mobile phone to Sesame Workshop radio content with health messaging. ©2013 Francis Gonzales, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Today we launch mHealth Knowledge (www.mHealthKnowledge.org). Tomorrow we’ll work to gather, generate, synthesize, and learn more—with your help.

    The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project is pleased to announce the launch of mHealth Knowledge—a portal to K4Health’s resources on mobile health (mHealth). You can now find all of K4Health’s mHealth products in one location.

    mHealth Knowledge is simple by design—you only need a few minutes to explore what’s there. The site features the four existing components of K4Health’s mHealth portfolio—the mHealth Basics eLearning Course, the mHealth Planning Guide, the mHealth Evidence Database, and the mHealth Working Group—along with a news center highlighting the latest hot topics in mHealth, sourced by K4Health staff and our community partners.

  • Blog post

    During the second annual World Health Worker Week, April 7-11, 2014, we are celebrating the women and men who save lives and raising awareness of health workforce issues. This post by Julia Nakad of K4Health partner Hesperian Health Guides shares their recent experience evaluating a safe pregnancy and birth app among health workers in Chiapas, Mexico. For most of the community health workers, midwives, clinic staff, and community members in the rural region, this was their first time using a mobile health app.

    Safe Pregnancy and Birth App Field Tested by Health Workers in Chiapas

    Safe Pregnancy and Birth App Field Tested by Health Workers in Chiapas

    Credit: Hesperian Health Guides

    Chiapas is one of the most marginalized and rural regions of Mexico, and faces unique barriers to improving maternal and child health. According to The Global Pediatric Alliance, Chiapas is plagued with a maternal death rate which is four times the average of the rest of the nation. The majority of the population lives below the poverty line, and with a 25% illiteracy rate, residents face significant challenges accessing quality preventative medical care and information.

    Fortunately, thanks to the work of Compañeros en Salud (CES),a sister branch of Partners in Health, local health care providers are receiving training and medical supplies, and are able to reach out to more patients than ever before through home visits.

  • Blog post

    Health programs, especially in low- and middle-income countries, have been integrating mHealth interventions at an unprecedented rate. There are now more than 1,000 mHealth products and services around the world, according to the GSMA mHealth Tracker. mHealth provides exciting opportunities for increasing access to health care for underserved populations. Consider that by the end of 2013, there were nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, with most of the growth in the past decade occurring in low- and middle-income countries.  

    One of the key articles in the current issue of Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) shows how mHealth interventions can transform the role of community health workers (CHWs) in the health system, from passive recipients of information with little influence to active information agents who seek and provide information to improve health services.

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