An article by Vijay Govindarajan talked about a reverse innovation using cellphone for healthcare workers. The term mHealth is used in a reference to the mobile devices for health services and information, that is catching up in developing countries.
The term mHealth is used in a reference to the mobile devices for health services and information. In well-developed countries, mobile phones and computers are everyday-use tools, but now also poorer countries are catching up with this trend. In South Africa, 90% of people have access to a mobile phone.
The United Nations Foundation report says that about 25% of South Africans are HIV positive, but only 3% are aware of it. Mobile technology can change this fact. Project Masiluleke is a text messaging-based service designed to increase the number of South Africans who get tested and receive the country’s free anti-retroviral treatment. In Kenya, sending text messages reminding people to take their HIV drugs properly, decreased the adherence to the therapy by 12%, and in Thailand simple calls to patients with tuberculosis, reminding them to take their medicine, decreased the drug adherence by 90%. These are some powerful results, showing how mobile technology can help improve medical conditions of those with biggest problems.
Many communities in emerging markets receive their front-line primary health care from community health care workers. In South Africa, for instance, 50 percent of all health care providers are community workers. But the training and certification of these workers is spotty — some are highly trained professionals; others have very rudimentary training. Mobile phones are proving useful in filling these institutional voids.
One pilot program allows community health workers to input clinical information into their mobile phones, access patient records, and receive recommendations for standard care. The Vodafone Social Investment Fundis funding this program; Vodafone's Group R&D and Vodacom, in collaboration with a local healthcare IT firm, GeoMed, manage it. Managers can identify services that are most regularly given in each district, which allows them to better allocate resources and prepare community workers. A platform allows providers to track and respond to common clinical performance issues associated with community health workers, as well.