mHealth resources to get you up and running

A number of excellent resources have come across my desk over the past 10 days related to mobile health (mHealth). Here’s a list of resources that can help you get an mHealth project up and running.

Definition: “mHealth, a new domain of public health research, is defined as the use of mobile information and communication technologies to leverage health outcomes. Through mHealth, mobile technologies can be used to enhance access to health information, improve the distribution of routine and emergency health services, support and streamline data collection and surveillance, or provide diagnostic services.” - JHUGmI: mHealth 101

1) The mHealth Planning Guide currently maintained by Knowledge 4 Health is a must read when creating your first mobile health initiative.

2) Optimizing Mobile Deployments by Schwartz et al. does an excellent job at describing how we can use mobile phones as tools for both personal and professional use. After all, providing a mobile phone to a health worker enables them in other ways beyond the data collection that we expect.

3) Two publications on theory have been fantastic for my understanding of mHealth. Prioritizing mHealth Strategies for Universal Health Coverage (Mehl and Labrique) is a great article that helps identify how mHealth strategies fit into the context of UHC. I most appreciate the graphic describing the Determinate Layers of UHC. I have been able to more clearly illustrate my projects within this graphic to help others understand value. mHealth innovations as health system strengthening tools: 12 common applications and a visual framework (Labrique et. al) has been fundamental in understanding the many layers of need to achieve one outcome. The visual framework has been created for RMNCH, but I see this as a great tool to analyzing and displaying the response to any problem that requires multiple interventions over a given time horizon.

4) Patient Privacy in a mobile world is a must read when thinking through data security in low and middle income environments. Many countries haven’t yet implemented security and data standards for personally identifiable information. This guide gives a detailed description of western laws that deal with information security and privacy. It’s an excellent way to get started. I believe that clients have rights regardless of their citizenship.

5) mHealth Platform Compendium I created and maintain this list of platforms that have been used in mHealth initiatives. This list allows you to browse through over 50 platforms in one place.

Note: I had an internship with the JHUGmI during my MPH program and follow their work relentlessly. My relationship with my mentors at JHUGmI may have caused bias in this post.

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