mHealth driven innovation

Within the realm of ICT, mHealth is the innovation that provides the biggest leap in capability and holds the greatest promise. mHealth, by leveraging the massive adoption of cellular telephony, provides the reach into nearly all corners of most countries today. It is increasingly appreciated that mobile technologies, prevalent throughout much of the less developed world, can be deployed to build effective health information exchange in spite of underdeveloped wired technology infrastructure. Over 90% of the global population lives in an area that has mobile phone access though in some rural areas this number approaches 80%. At the end of 2010, approximately 3.8 billion mobile phones were in use in the developing world representing nearly 73% of total mobile phone access. National healthcare systems are significantly strengthened by the development of robust cost effective health information exchanges and can leverage mobile communications networks to more effectively control significant public health threats from communicable diseases (CD) such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) as well as non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes.

Mobile Technologies vs. mHealth

National healthcare systems must exchange health information between:(1) the point of care and associated clinical environments, (2) the clinical laboratory, (3) public health epidemiology programs, and (4) disease control programs including drug supply chain management.

Each of these key functional areas also represent critical information nodes where mobile technologies can play an important role in accelerating the flow and exchange of information to improve diagnoses, patient treatment, and render population-based control programs more effective.

LWHS mHealth

LWHS mHealth activities focus on three arenas: (1) training, (2) disease surveillance, and (3) clinical care delivery. The training of community health workers represents an important and still under appreciated strategy to improve healthcare systems through capability and capacity building. Community health workers are a critical cadre within the health care work force and provide relatively inexpensive care that ranges from preventive services to life saving services. LWHS has the expertise to assess the public health needs across the various levels of health jurisdiction, identify critical training requirements, develop the training content, and design, build, implement and operate the mhealth delivery system. LWHS mhealth program delivers content through a multimedia-blended approach that has been recognized by public health experts as one of the most effective strategies for training. One unique feature of the mhealth training platform is that it can delivery both educational and assessment activities in near real time so that the content is optimally delivered to boost educational outcomes.

In the realm of disease surveillance, mhealth is deployed to enable the reporting of symptoms, diseases, or laboratory results to surveillance programs at all levels of the health care system. These data are then rolled up and aggregated to provide prevalence and incidence information for specific diseases. Finally, clinical service delivery is dramatically improved by the ability of health care providers to access laboratory results and other clinical data at the point of care. mhealth provides the ability to cross geographic areas that have inadequate internet connectivity and thus helps to ensure that the right diagnosis and optimal treatment is delivered to patients across the nation.

Public Health Driven mHealth Interventions

This mHealth initiative, driven by public health priorities in specific geographies and populations, brings to bear deep expertise in public health, clinical care, laboratory science, and health informatics to leverage mHealth as an 'intervention' to improve health outcomes. In addition to expertise, this initiative leverages partner programs to deliver unique access to excellent sites and public health programs that will be used to accelerate the adoption of mHealth for the public's health.

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