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Creating an enabling envirnoment for mHealth
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Creating an enabling envirnoment for mHealth



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  • 1. Creating an Enabling Environment for mHealth Patricia N. Mechael; PhD, MHS presented at International Technology Institute 5th Conference on Information and Communication Technology: Media Convergence- Moving to the Next Generation Cairo, Egypt 16-18 December 2007
  • 2. Presentation Outline • Introduction • Identification of mHealth opportunities • Technology lifecycle and integration decision- making • Maximization of mHealth: Lessons and challenges • Improving health outcomes and efficiencies
  • 3. Technologies under consideration & applications Mobile technologies that facilitate communication, processing of data, and transfer of information • Mobile phones • PDAs • Patient Monitoring Devices • MP3 Players • Microcomputers and mobile computing
  • 4. mHealth Opportunities • Mobile phones enable direct communication and information transfer in motion • Increasing numbers of subscribers and coverage- reaching & superceding MDGs for connectivity • Direct relationship between improved communication and access to health care • Technology prioritized by people in developing countries for work and social communication (connectedness)
  • 5. Key Outcomes of Interest • Reducing mortality • Reducing morbidity • Reduced feelings of isolation for rural health care workers- part of a network • Saving time • Saving money • Increased productivity within health system • Enhanced quality of care • Enhanced disease surveillance and control
  • 6. Health Systems Opportunities • Emergency response systems (MVAs and EOC) • Disease surveillance, management, and control (including health promotion to general public via SMS for early detection and warning) • Mobile telemedicine (diagnostic and decision support) • Human resources coordination, management, supervision, and support (decentralized health services) • Services monitoring and reporting (HMIS, vaccine programs, quality assurance, patient hotlines/directories, accountability to clients- increasing demand) • Supply chain management
  • 7. Health Communications Opportunities • Health promotion campaigns/ messages to general public- BCC especially youth • Public service messages and early warning systems • Training and capacity building of health care personnel-mLearning (formal and informal) • Call centers and hotlines • Networking- communities of practice • Advocacy
  • 8. Technology Integration In-house development Strategic Pre-tech Adoption of Planning: off-shelf Identifying software objectives, users, resources, workflows Full Integration Customization or configuration Small-scale testing Large-scale and mature distribution, development utilization, Evaluation training
  • 9. Strategic Aims and Objectives Improve function of health care system • Patient care, administration, patient information Improve delivery of health care • Accessing up to date medical information, professional development, remote diagnostic support, decision support, quality assurance, disease surveillance Improve communication about health • Patient data, interactive communication, media, research, advocacy
  • 10. Target beneficiaries Direct and intermediary… General public and health sector… • International • Regional • National • Provincial • Local Look at needs, capacity (including literacy and language), location, access Additional burden? Or relief? Participatory approaches (beneficiaries, program implementers, technology developers)
  • 11. Monitoring and evaluation • Formal integration program- targeted application of mobile technology to support a specific health program • Informal integration- mobile technology widely used to support programming without consideration of its specific contribution to program objectives • Begin with documentation and internal learning and standardization • Expand to assessment of select interventions- and the specific role and contribution of mobile technologies (positive and negative) • Learn from other ICT and Development Programs (esp. Education and Commerce)
  • 12. mHealth Challenges • Limited documentation and impact evaluation- effects of integration lost within broader programming – many case studies and anecdotes • Individual haphazard integration without knowledge of the range of possibilities, standards for implementation, or indicators to measure success – internal and external learning and exchange
  • 13. mHealth Challenges • Differential access to mobile technologies and capacity to maximize integration • Increasing trends to focus on mobile health without proper learning mechanisms from eHealth • Rapidly changing technologies and environment • Poor quality of health information and services especially in rural areas
  • 14. Key Lessons in mHealth • Technology is a tool • Successful integration requires full network participation • Local access and availability should drive integration • Build on existing mHealth patterns • Simple, user-friendly, and sustainable • Creative combination of new and old technology • Training and capacity development • Regular monitoring and evaluation • Clear planAssessment Based on InfoDev for sustainability
  • 15. The way forward… • Identify key areas in which mobile technologies can leverage international policy and programming objectives [Develop a strategic framework…] • Move from case studies and anecdotes to intensive evaluation • Develop standard protocols and indicators to assess and compare the effects of improved telecommunications and integration of mobile technologies on health • Explore the role of various partners including industry: Corporate Social Responsibility and social marketing of technology