With a worldwide penetration rate of over 85%, the mobile phone has become one of the most transformative tools in human history. As mobile communication technologies become less expensive, faster, and more accessible, the ability of people, communities and institutions to share information and knowledge will continue to skyrocket. Specifically for Global Health, the use of mobile communication and network technologies for delivery of health care (mHealth) holds great promise for the future. In low resource settings, community health workers (CHWs) provide a backbone for the delivery of health care services. Often isolated and without significant formal education or training, CHWs can be seen as key connectors between their communities and the formal health care system. In the hands of CHWs, mHealth tools may facilitate effective task shifting; by expanding the pool of human resources, increasing the productivity of health systems, and lowering the cost of services. The reported experience with mHealth suggest a wide range of opportunities exist to improve ease, speed, completeness and accuracy of the work of CHWs. The outcomes associated with these sort of new capabilities can be expected to result in ongoing improvements in performance on key national health indicators. The presentation will examine the state of the art and science-- by describing a systematic review of the literature and citing examples in action -- and provide recommendations focused on the design and development of mHealth tools for use by CHWs to strengthen Global Health interventions.
Dennis M. Israelski, M.D
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