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TitlemHealth Application Areas and Technology Combinations*. A Comparison of Literature from High and Low/Middle Income Countries.
AuthorsAbaza, H; Marschollek, M
JournalMethods of information in medicine
Publication Date8 Aug 2017
Date Added to PubMed20 Sep 2017
AbstractWith the continuous and enormous spread of mobile technologies, mHealth has evolved as a new subfield of eHealth. While eHealth is broadly focused on information and communication technologies, mHealth seeks to explore more into mobile devices and wireless communication. Since mobile phone penetration has exceeded other infrastructure in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), mHealth is seen as a promising component to provide pervasive and patient-centered care. The aim of our research work for this paper is to examine the mHealth literature to identify application areas, target diseases, and mHealth service and technology types that are most appropriate for LMICs. Based on the 2011 WHO mHealth report, a combination of search terms, all including the word "mHealth", was identified. A literature review was conducted by searching the PubMed and IEEE Xplore databases. Articles were included if they were published in English, covered an mHealth solution/ intervention, involved the use of a mobile communication device, and included a pilot evaluation study. Articles were excluded if they did not provide sufficient detail on the solution covered or did not focus on clinical efficacy/effectiveness. Cross-referencing was also performed on included articles. 842 articles were retrieved and analyzed, 255 of which met the inclusion criteria. North America had the highest number of applications (n=74) followed by Europe (n=50), Asia (n=44), Africa (n=25), and Australia (n=9). The Middle East (n=5) and South America (n=3) had the least number of studies. The majority of solutions addressed diabetes (n=51), obesity (n=25), CVDs (n=24), HIV (n=18), mental health (n=16), health behaviors (n=16), and maternal and child's health (MCH) (n=11). Fewer solutions addressed asthma (n=7), cancer (n=5), family health planning (n=5), TB (n=3), malaria (n=2), chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n=2), vision care (n=2), and dermatology (n=2). Other solutions targeted stroke, dental health, hepatitis vaccination, cold and flu, ED prescribed antibiotics, iodine deficiency, and liver transplantation (n=1 each). The remainder of solutions (n=14) did not focus on a certain disease. Most applications fell in the areas of health monitoring and surveillance (n=93) and health promotion and raising awareness (n=88). Fewer solutions addressed the areas of communication and reporting (n=11), data collection (n=6), telemedicine (n=5), emergency medical care (n=3), point of care support (n=2), and decision support (n=2). The majority of solutions used SMS messaging (n=94) or mobile apps (n=71). Fewer used IVR/phone calls (n=8), mobile website/email (n=5), videoconferencing (n=2), MMS (n=2), or video (n=1) or voice messages (n=1). Studies were mostly RCTs, with the majority suffering from small sample sizes and short study durations. Problems addressed by solutions included travel distance for reporting, self-management and disease monitoring, and treatment/medication adherence. SMS and app solutions are the most common forms of mHealth applications. SMS solutions are prevalent in both high and LMICs while app solutions are mostly used in high income countries. Common application areas include health promotion and raising awareness using SMS and health monitoring and surveillance using mobile apps. Remaining application areas are rarely addressed. Diabetes is the most commonly targeted medical condition, yet remains deficient in LMICs.
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.
TitleFeasibility and Effectiveness of mHealth for Mobilizing Households for Indoor Residual Spraying to Prevent Malaria: A Case Study in Mali.
AuthorsMangam, K; Fiekowsky, E; Bagayoko, M; Norris, L; Belemvire, A; Longhany, R; Fornadel, C; George, K
JournalGlobal health, science and practice
Publication Date20 Jun 2016
Date Added to PubMed30 Jun 2016
AbstractComponents of mHealth are increasingly being added to development interventions worldwide. A particular case of interest is in Mali where the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (AIRS) Project piloted a mobile mass-messaging service in Koulikoro District in August 2014 to determine whether voice and/or text messages received on cell phones could effectively replace door-to-door mobilization for an indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaign. To measure the pilot's effectiveness, we evaluated structure preparedness (all household and food items removed) in 3 pilot intervention villages compared with 3 villages prepared for spray through door-to-door mobilization that was modified by incorporating town hall meetings and radio spots. Structure preparedness was significantly lower in households mobilized through the mobile-messaging approach compared with the door-to-door approach (49% vs. 75%, respectively; P = .03). Spray coverage of targeted households also was significantly lower among the mobile-messaging villages than the door-to-door mobilization villages (86% vs. 96%, respectively; P = .02). The mobile-messaging approach, at US$8.62 per structure prepared, was both more costly and less effective than the door-to-door approach at US$1.08 per structure prepared. While literacy and familiarity with technology were major obstacles, it also became clear that by removing the face-to-face interactions between mobilizers and household residents, individuals were not as trusting or understanding of the mobilization messages. These residents felt it was easier to ignore a text or voice message than to ignore a mobilizer who could provide reassurances and preparation support. In addition, men often received the mobile messages, as they typically owned the mobile phones, while women-who were more likely to be at home at the time of spray-usually interacted with the door-to-door mobilizers. Future attempts at using mHealth approaches for similar IRS mobilization efforts in Mali should be done in a way that combines mHealth tools with more common human-based interventions, rather than as a stand-alone approach, and should be designed with a gender lens in mind. The choice of software used for mass messaging should also be considered to find a local option that is both less expensive and perhaps more attuned to the local context than a U.S.-based software solution.
TitleMobile phone short message service (SMS) as a malaria control tool: a quasi-experimental study.
AuthorsMohammed, A; Acheampong, PR; Otupiri, E; Osei, FA; Larson-Reindorf, R; Owusu-Dabo, E
JournalBMC public health
Publication Date29 Aug 2019
Date Added to PubMed30 Aug 2019
AbstractDespite the extensive implementation of control measures and achievements in morbidity reductions, malaria continues to contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality in children under-five. Innovative approaches involving the use of mobile phones have been suggested to improve health outcomes. However, evidence of its effect on reducing the prevalence of malaria is limited. This study, therefore, aimed to assess the effect of a theory-driven mHealth intervention on the prevalence of malaria among children under-five living in rural districts of Ghana. We conducted a quasi-experimental study of a 12-month intervention using a random sample of 332 caregivers with children under-five from two rural districts, assigned to either an intervention or a control group. Caregivers in the intervention group received voice short message service (SMS) on malaria prevention based on a behavior change theory to improve their health behaviors and practice, once a week for twelve months, while caregivers in the control group received none. Pre- and post-intervention assessment of the treatment effect (ATT) on malaria in children under-five was conducted using propensity score and difference-in-difference (DiD) analyses. Among children whose caregivers received the intervention, the prevalence of malaria decreased from 58.4% at baseline to 37.8% at endline (difference: -20.6%; 95% CI: - 31.1, - 10.1) compared with children in the control group, where a reduction of 65.0 to 59.9% (difference - 5.1%; 95% CI: - 15.5, 5.4) was observed. The treatment effect at endline revealed a statistically significant reduction in malaria prevalence (ATT: -0.214; 95% CI: - 0.36, - 0.07) compared with the baseline (ATT: -0.035; 95% CI: - 0.16, 0.09). Overall, the intervention effect showed a significant reduction in the prevalence of malaria among children under-five was positive (DiD: - 0.154; p = 0.043). The results of the study indicate the effectiveness of mobile phone SMS as a control tool for reducing the burden of malaria in children under-five.
TitleThe Effect of Text Message Reminders to Health Workers on Quality of Care for Malaria, Pneumonia, and Diarrhea in Malawi: A Cluster-Randomized, Controlled Trial.
AuthorsSteinhardt, LC; Mathanga, DP; Mwandama, D; Nsona, H; Moyo, D; Gumbo, A; Kobayashi, M; Namuyinga, R; Shah, MP; Bauleni, A; Troell, P; Zurovac, D; Rowe, AK
JournalThe American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Publication Date1 Feb 2019
Date Added to PubMed11 Jan 2019
AbstractThe use of mobile technologies in medicine, or mHealth, holds promise to improve health worker (HW) performance, but evidence is mixed. We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of text message reminders to HWs in outpatient health facilities (HFs) on quality of care for malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea in Malawi. After a baseline HF survey (2,360 patients) in January 2015, 105 HFs were randomized to three arms: 1) text messages to HWs on malaria case management; 2) text messages to HWs on malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea case management (latter two for children < 5 years); and 3) control arm (no messages). Messages were sent beginning April 2015 twice daily for 6 months, followed by an endline HF survey (2,536 patients) in November 2015. An intention-to-treat analysis with difference-in-differences binomial regression modeling was performed. The proportion of patients with uncomplicated malaria managed correctly increased from 42.8% to 59.6% in the control arm, from 43.7% to 55.8% in arm 1 (effect size -4.7%-points, 95% confidence interval (CI): -18.2, 8.9, P = 0.50) and from 30.2% to 50.9% in arm 2 (effect size 3.9%-points, 95% CI: -14.1, 22.0, P = 0.67). Prescription of first-line antibiotics to children < 5 years with clinically defined pneumonia increased in all arms, but decreased in arm 2 (effect size -4.1%-points, 95% CI: -42.0, 33.8, P = 0.83). Prescription of oral rehydration solution to children with diarrhea declined slightly in all arms. We found no significant improvements in malaria, pneumonia, or diarrhea treatment after HW reminders, illustrating the importance of rigorously testing new interventions before adoption.
TitleTelemedicine and its potential impacts on reducing inequalities in access to health manpower.
AuthorsNouhi, M; Fayaz-Bakhsh, A; Mohamadi, E; Shafii, M
JournalTelemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association
Publication Date1 Oct 2012
Date Added to PubMed16 Oct 2012
AbstractHuman resources for health have many diverse aspects that sometimes bring about conflicts in the healthcare market. In recent decades issues such as attrition, migration, and different types of imbalances in health workers were not only considered as international problems, but also took on new particular dimensions and complications. Rapid growth in establishing infrastructure of communications and many diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS and malaria, as well as shortages in skilled healthcare providers in developing countries, interested many health economists and health professionals to consider telemedicine as an approach to deliver some healthcare and to pursue its effects on human resources management in healthcare. The objective of this communication is to offer a better understanding of the value of telemedicine in human resources management in healthcare. This article briefly reviews related literature on potential contributions of telemedicine in mitigating four different types of imbalances in health workers and points out some of its capabilities. Although there is a great need for systematic, scientific, and analytical studies in effects of telemedicine on health workers, expansion of communication infrastructure throughout and especially in remote areas, political commitment, and provision of useful information and education to reduce problems of human resources for health are beneficial.
TitleEvaluating Response Time in Zanzibar's Malaria Elimination Case-Based Surveillance-Response System.
AuthorsKhandekar, E; Kramer, R; Ali, AS; Al-Mafazy, AW; Egger, JR; LeGrand, S; Mkali, HR; McKay, M; Ngondi, JM
JournalThe American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Publication Date1 Feb 2019
Date Added to PubMed12 Dec 2018
AbstractAs countries transition toward malaria elimination, malaria programs rely on surveillance-response systems, which are often supported by web- and mobile phone-based reporting tools. Such surveillance-response systems are interventions for elimination, making it important to determine if they are operating optimally. A metric to measure this by is timeliness. This study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate the response time of Zanzibar's malaria elimination surveillance-response system, Malaria Case Notification (MCN). MCN conducts both passive and reactive case detection, supported by a mobile phone-based reporting tool called Coconut Surveillance. Using data obtained from RTI International and the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program (ZAMEP), analysis of summary statistics was conducted to investigate the association of response time with geography, and time series techniques were used to investigate trends in response time and its association with the number of reported cases. Results indicated that response time varied by the district in Zanzibar (0.6-6.05 days) and that it was not associated with calendar time or the number of reported cases. Survey responses and focus groups with a cadre of health workers, district malaria surveillance officers, shed light on operational challenges faced during case investigation, such as incomplete health records and transportation issues, which stem from deficiencies in aspects of ZAMEP's program management. These findings illustrate that timely response for malaria elimination depends on effective program management, despite the automation of web-based or mobile phone-based tools. For surveillance-response systems to work optimally, malaria programs should ensure that optimal management practices are in place.
TitleA mobile health technology platform for quality assurance and quality improvement of malaria diagnosis by community health workers.
AuthorsLaktabai, J; Platt, A; Menya, D; Turner, EL; Aswa, D; Kinoti, S; O'Meara, WP
JournalPloS one
Publication Date1 Dec 2018
Date Added to PubMed2 Feb 2018
AbstractCommunity health workers (CHWs) play an important role in improving access to services in areas with limited health infrastructure or workforce. Supervision of CHWs by qualified health professionals is the main link between this lay workforce and the formal health system. The quality of services provided by lay health workers is dependent on adequate supportive supervision. It is however one of the weakest links in CHW programs due to logistical and resource constraints, especially in large scale programs. Interventions such as point of care testing using malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) require real time monitoring to ensure diagnostic accuracy. In this study, we evaluated the utility of a mobile health technology platform to remotely monitor malaria RDT (mRDT) testing by CHWs for quality improvement. As part of a large implementation trial involving mRDT testing by CHWs, we introduced the Fionet system composed of a mobile device (Deki Reader, DR) to assist in processing and automated interpretation of mRDTs, which connects to a cloud-based database which captures reports from the field in real time, displaying results in a custom dashboard of key performance indicators. A random sample of 100 CHWs were trained and provided with the Deki Readers and instructed to use it on 10 successive patients. The CHWs interpretation was compared with the Deki Reader's automatic interpretation, with the errors in processing and interpreting the RDTs recorded. After the CHW entered their interpretation on the DR, the DR provided immediate, automated feedback and interpretation based on its reading of the same cassette. The study team monitored the CHW performance remotely and provided additional support. A total of 1251 primary and 113 repeat tests were performed by the 97 CHWs who used the DR. 91.6% of the tests had agreement between the DR and the CHWs. There were 61 (4.9%) processing and 52 (4.2%) interpretation errors among the primary tests. There was a tendency towards lower odds of errors with increasing number and frequency of tests, though not statistically significant. Of the 62 tests that were repeated due to errors, 79% achieved concordance between the CHW and the DR. Satisfaction with the use of the DR by the CHWs was high. Use of innovative mHealth strategies for monitoring and quality control can ensure quality within a large scale implementation of community level testing by lay health workers.
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.
TitleConnected diagnostics: linking digital rapid diagnostic tests and mobile health wallets to diagnose and treat brucellosis in Samburu, Kenya.
AuthorsSmith, S; Koech, R; Nzorubara, D; Otieno, M; Wong, L; Bhat, G; van den Bogaart, E; Thuranira, M; Onchonga, D; Rinke de Wit, TF
JournalBMC medical informatics and decision making
Publication Date22 Jul 2019
Date Added to PubMed25 Jul 2019
AbstractDespite WHO guidelines for testing all suspected cases of malaria before initiating treatment, presumptive malaria treatment remains common practice among some clinicians and in certain low-resource settings the capacity for microscopic testing is limited. This can lead to misdiagnosis, resulting in increased morbidity due to lack of treatment for undetected conditions, increased healthcare costs, and potential for drug resistance. This is particularly an issue as multiple conditions share the similar etiologies to malaria, including brucellosis, a rare, under-detected zoonosis. Linking rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and digital test readers for the detection of febrile illnesses can mitigate this risk and improve case management of febrile illness. This technical advance study examines Connected Diagnostics, an approach that combines the use of point-of-care RDTs for malaria and brucellosis, digitally interpreted by a rapid diagnostic test reader (Deki Reader) and connected to mobile payment mechanisms to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of febrile illness in nomadic populations in Samburu County, Kenya. Consenting febrile patients were tested with RDTs and patient diagnosis and risk information were uploaded to a cloud database via the Deki Reader. Patients with positive diagnoses were provided digital vouchers for transportation to the clinic and treatment via their health wallet on their mobile phones. In total, 288 patients were tested during outreach visits, with 9% testing positive for brucellosis and 0.6% testing positive for malaria. All patients, regardless of diagnosis were provided with a mobile health wallet on their cellular phones to facilitate their transport to the clinic, and for patients testing positive for brucellosis or malaria, the wallet funded their treatment. The use of the Deki Reader in addition to quality diagnostics at point of care also facilitated geographic mapping of patient diagnoses in relation to key risk areas for brucellosis transmission. This study demonstrates that the Connected Dx approach can be effective even when addressing a remote, nomadic population and a rare disease, indicating that this approach to diagnosing, treatment, and payment for healthcare costs is feasible and can be scaled to address more prevalent diseases and conditions in more populous contexts.
MNCHFPRHHIV/AIDSMalariaNoncommunicable diseaseCOVID-19Decision-makingEducation & trainingBehavior changeGovernancePrivacy & securityEquityCHWsYouth & adolescentsSystematic reviewsProtocols & research designMedical RecordsLaboratoryPharmacyHuman ResourcesmHealthSMSChatbotsAI