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TitleUse of Mobile Health (mHealth) Technologies and Interventions Among Community Health Workers Globally: A Scoping Review.
AuthorsEarly, J; Gonzalez, C; Gordon-Dseagu, V; Robles-Calderon, L
JournalHealth promotion practice
Publication Date1 Nov 2019
Date Added to PubMed11 Jun 2019
AbstractThere is mounting evidence to show that community health workers (CHWs) play a positive role in improving population health by connecting people to information, resources, and services. However, barriers faced by CHWs include not being able to access information quickly and in a language tailored to the communities they serve. Mobile health (mHealth) shows promise of bridging this gap. Although there are a number of studies published on mHealth interventions, there is a need to synthesize the literature specific to mHealth and CHWs globally. Therefore, the primary goals of this review are to identify and describe over ten years of studies on the use, effectiveness, and potential of mHealth involving CHWs. Findings provide evidence-based strategies for designing and implementing mHealth tools for and with CHWs. We used criteria and methodology for scoping reviews established by the Joanna Briggs Institute as well as PRISMA protocols. We searched scholarly databases for peer-reviewed articles published between 2007 and 2018. The initial search yielded 207 published articles; after applying inclusion criteria, the sample totaled 64. While research about mHealth use among CHWs is still emerging, we found out that large-scale, longitudinal, and clinical studies are lacking. The existing evidence indicates that interventions, which include both CHWs and mHealth tools, are effective. Challenges include the scarcity of culturally relevant mHealth interventions, lack of a consistent methodology to assess mHealth outcomes, the need for effective training for CHWs to adopt mHealth tools, and improved communication within health care teams working with CHWs.
TitleUsing mHealth to improve health care delivery in India: A qualitative examination of the perspectives of community health workers and beneficiaries.
AuthorsGopalakrishnan, L; Buback, L; Fernald, L; Walker, D; Diamond-Smith, N
JournalPloS one
Publication Date1 Dec 2020
Date Added to PubMed16 Jan 2020
AbstractmHealth technologies are proliferating globally to address quality and timeliness of health care delivery by Community Health Workers (CHWs). This study aimed to examine CHW and beneficiaries' perceptions of a new mHealth intervention (Common Application Software [CAS] for CHWs in India. The objectives of the study were to seek perspectives of CHWs and beneficiaries on the uptake of CAS, changes in CHW-beneficiary interactions since the introduction of CAS and potential barriers faced by CHWs in use of CAS. Further, important contextual factors related to CHW-beneficiary interface and dynamics that may have a bearing on CAS have been described. A qualitative study was conducted in two states of India (Bihar and Madhya Pradesh) from March-April 2018 with CHWs (n = 32) and beneficiaries (n = 55). All interviews were conducted and recorded in Hindi, transcribed and translated into English, and coded and thematically analysed using Dedoose. The mHealth intervention was acceptable to the CHWs who felt that CAS improved their status in the communities where they worked. Beneficiaries' views were a mix of positive and negative perceptions. The divergent views between CHWs and beneficiaries surrounding the use and impact of CAS highlight an underlying mistrust, socio-cultural barriers in engagement, and technological barriers in implementation. All these contextual factors can influence the perception and uptake of CAS. mHealth interventions targeting CHWs and beneficiaries have the potential to improve performance of CHWs, reduce barriers to information and potentially change the behaviors of beneficiaries. While technology is an enabler for CHWs to improve their service delivery, it does not necessarily help overcome social and cultural barriers that impede CHW-beneficiary interactions to bring about improvements in knowledge and health behaviors. Future interventions for CHWs including mHealth interventions should examine contextual factors along with the acceptability, accessibility, and usability by beneficiaries and community members.
TitleEffects of an mHealth intervention for community health workers on maternal and child nutrition and health service delivery in India: protocol for a quasi-experimental mixed-methods evaluation.
AuthorsNimmagadda, S; Gopalakrishnan, L; Avula, R; Dhar, D; Diamond-Smith, N; Fernald, L; Jain, A; Mani, S; Menon, P; Nguyen, PH; Park, H; Patil, SR; Singh, P; Walker, D
JournalBMJ open
Publication Date27 Mar 2019
Date Added to PubMed29 Mar 2019
AbstractMillions of children in India still suffer from poor health and under-nutrition, despite substantial improvement over decades of public health programmes. The Anganwadi centres under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provide a range of health and nutrition services to pregnant women, children <6 years and their mothers. However, major gaps exist in ICDS service delivery. The government is currently strengthening ICDS through an mHealth intervention called Common Application Software (ICDS-CAS) installed on smart phones, with accompanying multilevel data dashboards. This system is intended to be a job aid for frontline workers, supervisors and managers, aims to ensure better service delivery and supervision, and enable real-time monitoring and data-based decision-making. However, there is little to no evidence on the effectiveness of such large-scale mHealth interventions integrated with public health programmes in resource-constrained settings on the service delivery and subsequent health and nutrition outcomes. This study uses a village-matched controlled design with repeated cross-sectional surveys to evaluate whether ICDS-CAS can enable more timely and appropriate services to pregnant women, children <12 months and their mothers, compared with the standard ICDS programme. The study will recruit approximately 1500 Anganwadi workers and 6000+ mother-child dyads from 400+ matched-pair villages in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The primary outcomes are the proportion of beneficiaries receiving (a) adequate number of home visits and (b) appropriate level of counselling by the Anganwadi workers. Secondary outcomes are related to improvements in other ICDS services, and knowledge and practices of the Anganwadi workers and beneficiaries. Ethical oversight is provided by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Suraksha Independent Ethics Committee in India. The results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and analysis data will be made public. ISRCTN83902145.
TitleClinical evaluation of the use of an mhealth intervention on quality of care provided by Community Health Workers in southwest Niger.
AuthorsZakus, D; Moussa, M; Ezechiel, M; Yimbesalu, JP; Orkar, P; Damecour, C; Ghee, AE; MacFarlane, M; Nganga, G
JournalJournal of global health
Publication Date1 Jun 2019
Date Added to PubMed3 Jul 2019
AbstractUnder the World Health Organization's (WHO) integrated community case management (iCCM) Rapid Access Expansion Program (RAcE), World Vision Niger and Canada supported the Niger Ministry of Public Health to implement iCCM in four health districts in Niger in 2013. Community health workers (CHWs), known as Relais Communautaire (RCom), were deployed in their communities to diagnose and treat children under five years of age presenting with diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia and refer children with severe illness to the higher-level facilities. Two of the districts in southwest Niger piloted RCom using smartphones equipped with an application to support quality case management and provide good timely clinical data. A two-arm cluster randomized trial assessed the impact of use of the mHealth application mainly on quality of care (QoC), but also on motivation, retention and supervision. A two-arm cluster randomized trial was conducted from March to October 2016 in Dosso and Doutchi districts. The intervention arm comprised 66 RCom equipped with a smartphone and 64 in the paper-based control arm. Trained expert clinicians observed each RCom assessing sick children presenting to them (264 in intervention group; 256 in control group), re-assessed each child on the same set of parameters, and made further observations regarding perceptions of motivation, retention, supervision, drug management and caregiver satisfaction. The primary outcome was a QoC score composed of diagnostic and treatment variables. Other factors were assessed by questionnaires. On average, the mHealth equipped RCom showed a 3.4% higher QoC score (mean difference of 0.83 points). They were more likely to ask about the main danger signs: convulsions (69.7% vs 50.4%, P < 0.001); incapacity to drink or eat (79.2% vs 59.4%, P < 0.001); vomiting (81.4% vs 69.9%, P < 0.01); and lethargy or unconsciousness (92.4% vs 84.8%, P < 0.01). Specifically, they consistently asked one more screening question. They were also significantly better at examining for swelling feet (40.2% vs 13.3%, P < 0.01) and advising caretakers on diarrhea, drug dosage and administration, and performed (though non-significantly) better when examining cough and breathing rates, referring all conditions, getting children to take prescribed treatments immediately and having caregivers understand treatment continuation. The control group was significantly better at diagnosing fast breathing, bloody diarrhea and severe acute malnutrition; and was somewhat better (non-significant) at treating fever and malaria. With treatment in general of the three diseases, there was no significant difference between the groups. On further inspection, 83% of the intervention group had a QoC score greater than 80% (25 out of 31), whereas only 67% of the control group had comparable performance. With respect to referrals, the intervention group performed better, mostly based on their better assessment of danger signs, with more correct (85% vs 29%) and fewer missed, plus a lower proportion of incorrect referrals, with the reverse being true for the controls (P = 0.012). There were no statistically significant differences in motivation, retention and supervision between the two groups, yet intervention RCom reported double the rate of no supervision in the last three months (31.8% vs 15.6%). Results suggest that use of the mHealth application led to modestly improved QoC through better assessment of the sick children and better referral decisions by RCom, but not to improvement in the actual treatment of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. Considering mHealth's additional costs and logistics, questions around its viability remain. Further implementation could be improved by investing in RCom capacity building, building organization culture and strengthened supervision, all essential areas for improving any CHW program. In this real-world setting, in poor and remote communities in rural Niger, this study did not support the overall value of the mHealth intervention. Much was learned for any future mHealth interventions and scale-up.
TitleCommunity Health Workers and Use of mHealth: Improving Identification of Pregnancy Complications and Access to Care in the Dominican Republic.
AuthorsBonnell, S; Griggs, A; Avila, G; Mack, J; Bush, RA; Vignato, J; Connelly, CD
JournalHealth promotion practice
Publication Date1 May 2018
Date Added to PubMed6 Jun 2017
AbstractThis article presents the feasibility and acceptability of using mobile health technology by community health workers (CHWs) in San Juan Province, Dominican Republic, to improve identification of pregnancy complications and access to care for pregnant women. Although most women in the Dominican Republic receive four antenatal care visits, poor women and adolescents in remote areas are more likely to have only one initial prenatal visit to verify the pregnancy. This community-based research began when community leaders raised concern about the numbers of their mothers who died in childbirth annually; San Juan's maternal mortality rate is 144/100,000 compared to the Caribbean rate of 85/100,000. Eight CHWs in three communities were taught to provide third-trimester antenatal assessment, upload the data on a mobile phone application, send the data to the local physician who monitored data for "red flags," and call directly if a mother had an urgent problem. Fifty-two pregnant women enrolled, 38 were followed to delivery, 95 antenatal care postintake were provided, 2 urgent complications required CHW home management of mothers, and there were 0 deaths. Stakeholders endorsed acceptability of intervention. Preliminary data suggest CHWs using mobile health technology is feasible, linking underserved and formal health care systems with provision of primary care in mothers' homes.
TitleDevelopment and Initial Validation of a Frontline Health Worker mHealth Assessment Platform (MEDSINC®) for Children 2-60 Months of Age.
AuthorsFinette, BA; McLaughlin, M; Scarpino, SV; Canning, J; Grunauer, M; Teran, E; Bahamonde, M; Quizhpe, E; Shah, R; Swedberg, E; Rahman, KA; Khondker, H; Chakma, I; Muhoza, D; Seck, A; Kabore, A; Nibitanga, S; Heath, B
JournalThe American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Publication Date1 Jun 2019
Date Added to PubMed18 Apr 2019
AbstractApproximately 3 million children younger than 5 years living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) die each year from treatable clinical conditions such as pneumonia, dehydration secondary to diarrhea, and malaria. A majority of these deaths could be prevented with early clinical assessments and appropriate therapeutic intervention. In this study, we describe the development and initial validation testing of a mobile health (mHealth) platform, MEDSINC®, designed for frontline health workers (FLWs) to perform clinical risk assessments of children aged 2-60 months. MEDSINC is a web browser-based clinical severity assessment, triage, treatment, and follow-up recommendation platform developed with physician-based Bayesian pattern recognition logic. Initial validation, usability, and acceptability testing were performed on 861 children aged between 2 and 60 months by 49 FLWs in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. MEDSINC-based clinical assessments by FLWs were independently and blindly correlated with clinical assessments by 22 local health-care professionals (LHPs). Results demonstrate that clinical assessments by FLWs using MEDSINC had a specificity correlation between 84% and 99% to LHPs, except for two outlier assessments (63% and 75%) at one study site, in which local survey prevalence data indicated that MEDSINC outperformed LHPs. In addition, MEDSINC triage recommendation distributions were highly correlated with those of LHPs, whereas usability and feasibility responses from LHP/FLW were collectively positive for ease of use, learning, and job performance. These results indicate that the MEDSINC platform could significantly increase pediatric health-care capacity in LMICs by improving FLWs' ability to accurately assess health status and triage of children, facilitating early life-saving therapeutic interventions.
TitleScoping review assessing the evidence used to support the adoption of mobile health (mHealth) technologies for the education and training of community health workers (CHWs) in low-income and middle-income countries.
AuthorsWinters, N; Langer, L; Geniets, A
JournalBMJ open
Publication Date30 Jul 2018
Date Added to PubMed1 Aug 2018
AbstractUndertake a systematic scoping review to determine how a research evidence base, in the form of existing systematic reviews in the field of mobile health (mHealth), constitutes education and training for community health workers (CHWs) who use mobile technologies in everyday work. The review was informed by the following research questions: does educational theory inform the design of the education and training component of mHealth interventions? How is education and training with mobile technology by CHWs in low-income and middle-income countries categorised by existing systematic reviews? What is the basis for this categorisation? The review explored the literature from 2000 to 2017 to investigate how mHealth interventions have been positioned within the available evidence base in relation to their use of formal theories of learning. The scoping review found 24 primary studies that were categorised by 16 systematic reviews as supporting CHWs' education and training using mobile technologies. However, when formal theories of learning from educational research were used to recategorise these 24 primary studies, only four could be coded as such. This identifies a problem with how CHWs' education and training using mobile technologies is understood and categorised within the existing evidence base. This is because there is no agreed on, theoretically informed understanding of what counts as learning. The claims made by mHealth researchers and practitioners regarding the learning benefits of mobile technology are not based on research results that are underpinned by formal theories of learning. mHealth suffers from a reductionist view of learning that underestimates the complexities of the relationship between pedagogy and technology. This has resulted in miscategorisations of what constitutes CHWs' education and training within the existing evidence base. This can be overcome by informed collaboration between the health and education communities.
TitleThere's No App for That: Assessing the Impact of mHealth on the Supervision, Motivation, Engagement, and Satisfaction of Community Health Workers in Sierra Leone.
AuthorsVallières, F; McAuliffe, E; van Bavel, B; Wall, PJ; Trye, A
JournalAnnals of global health
Publication Date1 Dec
Date Added to PubMed12 Mar 2017
AbstractThe unprecedented access to mobile phones in resource-poor settings has seen the emergence of mobile-health (mHealth) applications specific for low- and middle-income contexts. One such application is the Mobile Technology for Community Health Suite (MOTECH Suite). Given the importance of community health worker (CHW) perceptions of a health program toward its successful implementation, this study explores whether the introduction of an mHealth application, as a human resource management tool, is associated with changes in CHW perceived supervision, motivation, work engagement, and job satisfaction over time. We employed a 3-arm randomized longitudinal cohort design in Bonthe District, Sierra Leone. Three hundred twenty-seven CHWs were assessed over an 18-month period, with 3 different rounds of data collection. CHWs were assigned to 3 different intervention groups and given either a mobile phone with access to both the application and to a closed user group; a phone set up on a closed user group but with no application; or no mobile phone but the same level of training as the previous 2 groups. Findings indicated that there were no initial or sustained differences in perceived supervision and motivation across the 3 experimental groups over time with the introduction of the MOTECH Suite as a human resource management tool. Furthermore, there was no significant change in the self-reported measures of work engagement and job satisfaction across each of the intervention groups over time. Findings suggest that there are no systematic changes in perceived supervision, work engagement, job satisfaction, or motivation between CHWs who received a mobile phone set up on a closed user group with the MOTECH Suite application and those who either only received a phone with the closed user group or no phone at all. Therefore, the results of this study do not provide sufficient evidence to support the use of mobile technology or mHealth applications to strengthen these organizational factors within CHW programs and interventions. We argue that strengthening the organizational factors within CHW programs must therefore extend beyond the introduction of a technological solution.
TitleMobile health (mHealth) approaches and lessons for increased performance and retention of community health workers in low- and middle-income countries: a review.
AuthorsKällander, K; Tibenderana, JK; Akpogheneta, OJ; Strachan, DL; Hill, Z; ten Asbroek, AH; Conteh, L; Kirkwood, BR; Meek, SR
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Publication Date25 Jan 2013
Date Added to PubMed29 Jan 2013
AbstractMobile health (mHealth) describes the use of portable electronic devices with software applications to provide health services and manage patient information. With approximately 5 billion mobile phone users globally, opportunities for mobile technologies to play a formal role in health services, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are increasingly being recognized. mHealth can also support the performance of health care workers by the dissemination of clinical updates, learning materials, and reminders, particularly in underserved rural locations in low- and middle-income countries where community health workers deliver integrated community case management to children sick with diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. Our aim was to conduct a thematic review of how mHealth projects have approached the intersection of cellular technology and public health in low- and middle-income countries and identify the promising practices and experiences learned, as well as novel and innovative approaches of how mHealth can support community health workers. In this review, 6 themes of mHealth initiatives were examined using information from peer-reviewed journals, websites, and key reports. Primary mHealth technologies reviewed included mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones, patient monitoring devices, and mobile telemedicine devices. We examined how these tools could be used for education and awareness, data access, and for strengthening health information systems. We also considered how mHealth may support patient monitoring, clinical decision making, and tracking of drugs and supplies. Lessons from mHealth trials and studies were summarized, focusing on low- and middle-income countries and community health workers. The review revealed that there are very few formal outcome evaluations of mHealth in low-income countries. Although there is vast documentation of project process evaluations, there are few studies demonstrating an impact on clinical outcomes. There is also a lack of mHealth applications and services operating at scale in low- and middle-income countries. The most commonly documented use of mHealth was 1-way text-message and phone reminders to encourage follow-up appointments, healthy behaviors, and data gathering. Innovative mHealth applications for community health workers include the use of mobile phones as job aides, clinical decision support tools, and for data submission and instant feedback on performance. With partnerships forming between governments, technologists, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry, there is great potential to improve health services delivery by using mHealth in low- and middle-income countries. As with many other health improvement projects, a key challenge is moving mHealth approaches from pilot projects to national scalable programs while properly engaging health workers and communities in the process. By harnessing the increasing presence of mobile phones among diverse populations, there is promising evidence to suggest that mHealth can be used to deliver increased and enhanced health care services to individuals and communities, while helping to strengthen health systems.
TitlePerceived mHealth barriers and benefits for home-based HIV testing and counseling and other care: Qualitative findings from health officials, community health workers, and persons living with HIV in South Africa.
Authorsvan Heerden, A; Harris, DM; van Rooyen, H; Barnabas, RV; Ramanathan, N; Ngcobo, N; Mpiyakhe, Z; Comulada, WS
JournalSocial science & medicine (1982)
Publication Date1 Jun 2017
Date Added to PubMed6 May 2017
AbstractmHealth has been proposed to address inefficiencies in the current South African healthcare system, including home-based HIV testing and counseling (HTC) programs. Yet wide-scale adoption of mHealth has not occurred. Even as infrastructure barriers decrease, a need to better understand perceived adoption barriers by stakeholders remains. We conducted focus group discussions (FGD) in South Africa in 2016 with 10 home-based HTC field staff, 12 community health workers (CHWs) and 10 persons living with HIV (PLH). Key informant (KI) interviews were conducted with five health officials. Perceptions about current home-based HTC practices, future mHealth systems and the use of biometrics for patient identification were discussed, recorded and transcribed for qualitative analysis. Themes were based on a conceptual model for perceived mHealth service quality. Stakeholders brought up a lack of communication in sharing patient health information between clinics, between clinics and CHWs, and between clinics and patients as major barriers to care that mHealth can address. CHWs need better patient information from clinics in terms of physical location and health status to plan visitation routes and address patient needs. CHWs perceive that communication barriers create distrust towards them by clinic staff. PLH want automated appointment and medication reminders. KI see mHealth as a way to improve health information transfer to government officials to better allocate healthcare resources. Stakeholders are also optimistic about the ability for biometrics to improve patient identification but disagreed as to which biometrics would be acceptable, especially in older patients. All stakeholders provided useful information towards the development of mHealth systems. Hospitals are adopting patient-centered approaches that solicit feedback from patients and incorporate them into decision-making processes. A similar approach is needed in the development of mHealth systems. Further, such systems are critical to the successful extension of the health system from health facilities into people's homes.
MNCHFPRHHIV/AIDSMalariaNoncommunicable diseaseCOVID-19Decision-makingEducation & trainingBehavior changeGovernancePrivacy & securityEquityCHWsYouth & adolescentsSystematic reviewsProtocols & research designMedical RecordsLaboratoryPharmacyHuman ResourcesmHealthSMSChatbotsAI